a/k/a Great Books ... a companion site for courses by Peter Arcese, MA, JD, LLM, on Literature and Literary Classics ... Here you will find items related to our readings and discussions ... Ideas, images, background information, suggested readings, bibliographies, and notes on related performances, all find a presence here ... Enjoy your reading and check back regularly for new posts!
Transcript: Over the Summer during the first of our August Classes, I introduced the idea that every Great Book asks and answers all of the following 5 Big Questions of life. Those 5 Big Questions are:
1. Who am I? 2. Why am I here? 3. What kind of a world is this? 4. What is my place in it? 5. What do I do about it?
We can apply this to Helen by Euripides, and consider these possible answers:
1. Who am I? I am a mortal with limited knowledge, subject to fate and the gods. 2. Why am I here? I am fighting to survive and to preserve my honor, my reputation, and to gain glory. I am here to be recognized. 3. What kind of a world is this? It is a world of unreliable appearances, full of deceit and injustice, but it is also a world of free will, possibilities, and opportunity. 4. What is my place in it? My place depends entirely on my relationships with others, whether they are gods, society, or family. I am responsible for my actions. 5. What do I do about it? I am to respect the gods and to use all my physical & mental resources to achieve my goals through strategic thought, speech, & action.
How would you answer these questions, based on your reading of the play?