HOMER: The Iliad [Book I]

Homer’s Iliad begins in media res, during the tenth year of the Trojan War, which was fought between the Ancient Greeks and the Trojans. The Greeks have sacked neighboring towns around the walls of Troy and taken several women as captives. Chryseis, the most beautiful woman taken, was awarded to the Greek commander, Agamemnon. Briseis, the second most beautiful woman, was awarded to the Greek’s best fighter, Achilles. Continue reading HOMER: The Iliad [Book I]

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SHAKESPEARE: Twelfth Night

William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a comedy that was first performed in 1602. It tells the story of a love triangle between Duke Orsino, Olivia, and Viola, who is disguised as a man named Cesario. Duke Orsino loves Olivia, Olivia loves Viola disguised as Cesario, and Viola loves Duke Orsino. At the end of the play, the love triangle is resolved when Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian, arrives in the city and marries Olivia, who believes that Sebastian is Cesario. Viola casts off her Cesario disguise, and Duke Orsino asks her to marry him. Although the play is a comedy, it explores the serious theme of social climbing. Continue reading SHAKESPEARE: Twelfth Night

SHAKESPEARE: As You Like It

William Shakespeare’s As You Like It was first performed in 1603. It is one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies. It tells the story of the amusing courtship and eventual marriage of Rosalind, the daughter of the Duke, and Orlando, the son of a Knight. Although the play is a comedy, Shakespeare explores many serious philosophical themes, such as those of love and pastoral life. Continue reading SHAKESPEARE: As You Like It

PASCAL: The Provincial Letters

The Provincial Letters are 18 letters written by Blaise Pascal during the years 1656 and 1657. The Letters are primarily concerned with the formulary controversy. The formulary controversy revolved around the Jansenists’ defiance of the Pope’s declaration that Jansenist beliefs concerning the nature of man and grace were heretical. Continue reading PASCAL: The Provincial Letters

SHAKESPEARE: Comedy of Errors

Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare’s shortest play and one of his funniest. It tells the story of two sets of twin brothers who were separated at birth while sailing on the Mediterranean Sea with their parents during a tempest. The play begins 25 years after the shipwreck. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio of Syracuse arrive in Ephesus, searching for their long-lost twin brothers. By chance, their twin brothers Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant Dromio of Ephesus live in the city. Continue reading SHAKESPEARE: Comedy of Errors

HOMER: The Odyssey [Book XXIV]

In Book XXIV of Homer’s Odyssey, the God Mercury conducts the souls of the dead suitors to Hades. During their journey, the suitors pass by the Elysian fields where they see Agamemnon speaking to Achilles. Agamemnon relates the story of Achilles’ burial and of the funeral games held in his honor. “Thus even in death your fame, Achilles, has not been lost, and your name lives evermore among all mankind.” Continue reading HOMER: The Odyssey [Book XXIV]