Today I have the honor of sharing with you the exclusive guest blog post of author Cheryl Carpinello. The author of Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is here to share why classical literature holds great importance in today’s world. Be sure to check out the review of her novel and her blog tour stop I posted to my website here, and check out her social media sites and book information down below. Enjoy!
The Importance of Classical Literature in Today’s World
By Cheryl Carpinello
The world is a far difference place from the Golden Age of Greece in 500 BCE. Surely there is nothing to be gained from reading the stories, poetry, and drama of so long ago. Right? Wrong.
The one constant from the beginning of man’s time on this earth through today and beyond is human nature. Our surroundings and way of life have changed dramatically, but human beings have not. We are still dealing with the same emotions and situations as those who resided in ancient civilizations.
Love, anger, sadness, happiness, pride, despair, hunger, hatred, the need to succeed, the desire to be good and/or better, the frustrations of everyday life. These are just some of what drive our actions and our reactions. We evolve, and our world may get more complicated, but we can’t change those.
What classical literature brings are examples of how others have dealt with similar situations as ours, be that outcome good or bad. It is the Greek tragedies that have had the most impact. These stories by definition have tragic endings. But they also have something else: The Ancient Greeks called it catharsis—a cleansing; a release of emotions like fear, pity, and sadness through the viewing of some type of art. In this case the Greek tragedies.
Antigone by Sophocles deals with rash behavior and hubris (the Greek word for pride) in the two main characters: King Oedipus and his niece Antigone. When Oedipus the King decides that his rule about denying burial to a traitor must be followed for the better of the state, he ends up sentencing his niece and future wife of his son to death when Antigone buries her brother as the gods demanded. Ultimately his action also leads to the death of his son and wife. Even more relevant is the fact that each of the characters are right. Creon is obeying the law of the land; Antigone is obeying the law of the gods. How often we have seen similar situations play out on our streets today.
I mention Sophocles because a company called Theater of War Productions (founded in 2009) is using the plays of Sophocles—particularly Antigone and Ajax—to help veterans adjust to being home, to help First Responders deal with the tragedies they face, and to help communities understand and deal with the conflicts within their own neighborhoods. Some of the projects taken on include War & Mental Health, Domestic Violence, Racism & Social Justice, Police/Community Relations, Addiction & Substance Abuse, Gun Violence, and Caregiving & Death. A full list of the topics and literature used by Theater of War Productions is available on their website.
Antigone in Ferguson was presented in Ferguson, Missouri after the 2014, shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by a police officer. The play achieved what Theater of War Productions founder Bryan Doerries set out to do. In an article in Smithsonian (November 2107), he told readers his productions are not meant to solve problems, but to get conversations started between all involved. He has been so successful that in March 2017, he was appointed as the NYC Public Artist in Residence.
It is often heard that if we don’t study history, then we are bound to repeat the same mistakes over again. I believe the same is true for literature. There is no safer outlet for kids and adults to see the effects decisions can have on a life. Within the pages of Classical Literature, we are able to explore ways to deal with the difficult situations that arise and to get dialogs started.
About the Author
Cheryl Carpinello is an author, retired high school English teacher, and Colorado native. Since retiring from teaching, she’s been able to devote her time to writing and traveling. Although she may be away from teaching, she is still a teacher at heart and especially enjoys meeting with kids and talking with them about reading and writing. Cheryl hopes through her books she can inspire young readers and reader’s young-at-heart to read more.
You can find Cheryl at –
Writing Blog: http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Carpinello/e/B002GGGZY6
Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello
Linkedin Page: www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-carpinello/25/671/a02
Google URL: https://plus.google.com/110918922081424857545/