athousandwinds: (icon by lady wormtongue)
cut for size issues )

One of the reasons I love Oedipus Tyrannus so much, quite apart from all that stuff about how perfectly structured it is (Aristotle had fangasms over it), is how well the story fits with its protagonist. One of the themes of it is the choice between happy lies and harsh truth. Oedipus himself is pretty damn happy with the world at the start of the play, despite the plague in Thebes, he's got a wife he obviously loves and four children he just as clearly adores. (The daughters, at least, we don't see his relationship with his sons.) At the end of it, of course, he's discovered that he murdered his father (bringing down the plague on the city), has married his mother (who has hanged herself) and his children are also his siblings (and since he's being exiled from the city, he won't be allowed to see them any more). Oh, yeah, and now he's stabbed his own eyes out. But...

At the beginning of the play, Oedipus declares his determination to root out the cause of the plague and asks the Thebans to put their trust in him. Because - "I am Oedipus!" who saved them from the Sphinx. At the end, he declares himself a broken man, but still - "I am Oedipus!" Now he's blind, he sees himself clearly and while he's shamed before the entire city, he owns himself, now more than ever. He's done terrible things - unknowingly, not that that saves him from the wrath of the gods - but he faces up to and lives with them. At the end of the play he reaches out to the people of Thebes, who still love him even knowing all of this. Throughout the play Oedipus's search for truth at the expense of his own comfort keeps him sympathetic (important, when he's threatening to beat up an old blind man). He thinks he may have killed Laius, bringing down his own curse upon his head; he believes he is the son of a slave, but he keeps investigating when other people would have quietly closed down the inquiry and perhaps let the plague run its course. Contrast with Jocasta, who figures out that Oedipus is her son long before he does and begs him to stop it. She would rather live in blissful ignorance than have proof and pays the price for it.

I think what I'm trying to say boils down to two things:

1. the play Oedipus Tyrannus is so much more complex and interesting than "dude fucked his mom". The actual incest is so far from the point it isn't even funny.

2. Oedipus = my favourite character in Greek myth. Ever.

Also, that old blind man? Had it coming.
athousandwinds: (icon by prettypictures)
Something I've been thinking of for a while:

Lenny Henry was recently embroiled in a race row over lack of non-white people in television, both in front of the camera and behind it. Read the Guardian article, it's excellent and brings up a number of important points. Reading over it again, I think I agree with just about everything in it. But the part I want to discuss particularly is:

As well as more diversity in the industry, more ideas from a wider range of writers, producers and directors are vital to hold up a mirror to contemporary Britain, he says. In the speech, he joked about Sunday being the night that the National Front would stay in and watch television that depicted "blue skies, green fields, white people".

Not much has changed, he ventures, with the wall to wall period dramas that now dominate - including Lark Rise to Candleford, starring his wife Dawn French. As a recent English graduate, he is bursting with ideas for other adaptations that don't always feature an overload of "bonnets and crinolines".

Now, I will admit freely that I am fairly in love with costume dramas. They're the one genre which I will go out of my way to watch; not even sci-fi or comedy gets that kind of viewer loyalty from me. And I fully agree that it would be brilliant to see something that wasn't part of the BBC's stock parade of empire waistlines and pantaloons, much as I adore them, and particularly something that isn't whiter than a BNP meeting. And no, random black characters showing up in 12th century England or as vicars in the Victorian age doesn't help, I don't think, since it only gets the producers ridiculed. Even Djaq in Robin Hood, much as I love her, makes no sense in context (interestingly enough, I think the writers are much more comfortable with her gender issues than her race issues).

So. What novels, what stories do you have in mind that would make for brilliant adaptations, that feature characters of colour?

Wide Sargasso Sea (done in the last two years, but only as a complement to the all-white Jane Eyre)
Death Comes As the End (Ancient Egyptian murder mystery)
Gilgamesh (along with truly great adaptations of the Iliad and Odyssey. Though Gilgamesh would almost certainly work better in a cinema, where it could be properly epic)
The Queen's Fool (centred around a Jewish girl in Tudor England)
A Great and Terrible Beauty (admittedly, not a finished series. But it has crinolines and Indian characters. Well, one. It probably doesn't qualify for this list, thinking about it.)

Last, and this is only because I'm reading it right now, a Count of Monte Cristo series which incorporates the book's actual ending (where he marries his Indian slave, Haydée, rather than Mercedes) would be fantastic. I'm just up to the part where he's actually put in prison, so I don't know how uncomfortable the race issues get to a modern audience; please feel free to smack me down on this one.

My pipedream: a series, probably for children, which tells a different mythological story each week. Animated, to save on costs, and done sort of Jackanory style (based on my very, very vague memories of Jackanory). Sheherezade could be the narrator and it's not like you'd ever, ever run out of material. The Arabian Nights alone could go for years. A lot of them would have to be watered-down for after-school fare (can you imagine trying to explain that one story about Horus and Set? "Well, they had sex but Horus caught Set's semen in his mouth and spat it out into the river and then he jacked off onto some lettuce..."), which makes my inner classical scholar cry a little, but even so.
athousandwinds: (icon by gabbysun)
I. [livejournal.com profile] lawnmowerpants! *<3s so hard* I got your Valentine today and I'm actually writing now. :DDDD

II. Thank you to everyone who cheered me up yesterday. ♥ It meant a lot.

III. I'm thinking of posting Greek and Latin poetry in March. Because more people should appreciate Catullus. (By Greek poetry I really mean speeches from Euripides.)

IV. I think I was supposed to write at least 300 words of coursework today. >_>;
athousandwinds: (icon by lady wormtongue)

Oh, God. Never code Greek letters into html, it's a nightmare. I only did a few sentences and I wanted to cry. On the upside, I'm really excited for Yuletide. I've written...five stories for it so far (the fifth's just about to go up). And I'm thinking of two or three more. Yuletide Madness, indeed.

athousandwinds: (icon by lady wormtongue)
So, I reserved a book at the library: Mephisto by Klaus Mann. It's about an actor who effectively sells his soul to keep working in the Third Reich (heavily based on the author's own brother-in-law, banned in Nazi Germany, etc.). It's a translation from German, but hell, not like I could read it in the original anyway.

So, it comes today.

It's a translation from German, all right...into Greek.

This is me, banging my head so hard into the desk that I may inadvertently have fractured my skull.
athousandwinds: (icon by lady wormtongue)
AHA.

Just figured out what the problem with Maedhros is in the fic I'm writing. The story is told from his point of view and he's not showing any emotion at all. Fingon is in tears at one point and he gets to shove Maedhros down and yell in his face, but Maedhros is just not reacting at all. I could probably fix it, but the detachment works to a certain extent. A certain extent, so *hideous dilemma*.

I can't write emotion at all. I can only write physical action. D:

In other news, we had Greek Art today. This inspired the important question: has there ever been a porn film based on the original Olympic Games?*

*It would have to be a porn film, to allow for the risk of seeing actors' penises. Unless Ewan McGregor is starring, naturally.

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Angharad

September 2012

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