Paradise and Death Personal Response

“Paradise and Death” written by Eric Macknight, provides a new perspective on Odysseus’ adventures. I found the comparisons of life and death to be very thought-provoking and it caused me to reflect on my own life. I find that when life is hard it is easy for me to get caught up thinking about simpler times in the past. But this does not allow me to progress into the future. And with no future, there is no life, only death. Another comparison that the essay had me reflect on was the notion of immortality and death. We talked about this construct in class and surprisingly I was thinking about it for the rest of the day. Kalypso (a death goddess) offers Odysseus the chance to be young forever. In one manner this can be perceived as her offering death to Odysseus because his life will never progress past that point, and he will never see his family again. This concept of immortality of being young forever is very prominent in pop culture today. Many young people including myself have the idea that being young forever with no responsibilities would be ideal. But now having read “Paradise and Death” and discussing it in class I have a different perspective on what it means to be young forever. Odysseus’ ability to escape death countless times is an admirable character trait. He is offered an easier way of life with no hardships like living in the past only and being young forever, but he does not accept these offers.   

Not only does “Paradise and Death” bring up intriguing points it is also exemplary written.  Reading this essay, I learned new things about how to write an essay correctly. I now know that it might be a good idea to explain what is happening in the text before inserting a quote from the text. This way the quote does not seem awkwardly placed in the essay. As well as providing organization and clarity to an essay, transition sentences are very helpful. A clever example of this in the essay is “It is after these traumatic misadventures that they arrive on Kirkê’s island” (pg. 4). Here we can see a transition sentence that helps move the essay from one point to another. Another point about quotes that I learned was it is not necessary for every paragraph to have a supporting quote from the text. Sometimes when I am writing a response, I try to force quotes that don’t belong into my writing because I thought they were necessary. Overall, after reading “Paradise and Death” I gained knowledge on how to write an essay and I hope that this improves my writing skills.  

Antigone an admirable character

Antigone written by Sophocles was a very intriguing book. As opposed to Oedipus I found the book more complex which made it more enjoyable to read. This is particularly because I found Antigone’s character fascinating. Her character is now someone that I admire and aspire to be like. A reason that I admire her is because of her close resemblance to a feminist and her ability to stand up against Creon. Finally making these connections the question of  “Who are we” in relation to Antigone arouse. 

Antigone is a character that I admired while reading this Greek tragedy. The qualities that I admire in Antigone are her bravery and loyalty to her own values. Her bravery is shown when she breaks Creon’s law to bury her brother; Polynices. Antigone does this because she believes that she is honoring her family and the law of the gods. I like that instead of conforming to the state law she boldly stood up for her family and her values. Even after Antigone is caught she does not ask for sympathy but says some courageous words to Creon;

“And if my present actions strike you as foolish, let’s just say I’ve been accused of folly by a fool” (p.82).

I commend Antigone for having the confidence to stand up to a tyrant even if it means sacrificing her life. Creon’s perspective however is that Antigone has a death wish and worships death;

“There let her pray to the one god she worships – death” (p.100).

He thinks this because he doesn’t understand Antigone’s perspective. Contrary to Creon I sympathize with Antigone and understand her motives. I believe that Antigone is willing to die fighting for a better world than the one she lives in and this is very admirable. Antigone’s traits and actions also make her an early example of a feminist. 

In Antigone one theme that connects to our world is sexism. Throughout the play, there are many examples of gender inequality, specifically men vs women. In our world, it is a common view that women are seen as inferior to men and that a woman should not challenge this. This is portrayed in Antigone when Antigone challenges Creon and his laws.  Due to Antigone’s actions, she can be viewed and compared to a modern-day feminist. Through bravery, she stands up against Creon who is an example of a misogynist. He does not like the fact that a girl is trying to overrule him, he states that

“ While I’m alive no woman is going to lord it over me” (p. 86).

This is very patriarchal of Creon but it is similar to the ideologies of today’s world. Ismene, Antigone’s sister however has a different perspective on how to act under Creon’s ruling. She would rather conform to Creon’s views because she is too scared to stand up for herself. An example of this is when she is asked to help bury Polynices, Ismene says

“Remember we are women we’re not born to contend with men” (p. 62).

She chooses to adhere to Creon’s rules out of fear and accept her place in society. Making this connection between the world of Antigone and our own world brought up the big question: who are we? As well as who should we be? By this, I mean comparing ourselves to the two sisters in this story. Antigone is a strong-minded, courageous feminist who is willing to die for a bigger cause. Or Ismene who puts her beliefs aside and conforms to other people out of fear. Moving forward, I am going to strive to be more like Antigone. 

Oedipus the King – a good read

Oedipus the King written by Sophocles was something that I enjoyed reading. I found myself wanting to pick the book up and read past the assigned pages. The reasons for this were the characters and the tone. The main character Oedipus had many layers to his personality which made him more intriguing. The humorous tone of this book was also something that kept me interested. This book also raised a few questions and caused me to reflect.

I found Oedipus’s character to be complicated. This is because he was a tragic hero who was neither totally good nor evil. At the beginning of the book, I did not like Oedipus because I found him to be conceited and have a bad temper. An example of these traits is when Tiresias calls Oedipus the murderer. At this point, Oedipus is very quick to lash out without thinking which makes him unlikeable. As the book progresses, we can see his determination to find out the truth and his loyalty to Thebes. This changed how I viewed Oedipus; I now admired these qualities. The ending to this story had me feeling sorry for Oedipus because of how he felt like a puppet to the Gods. At first, I was confused about why he decided to stab his eyes but then I realized he wanted to have control over his own life. I realize now that portraying Oedipus with both flaws and strengths made Oedipus more transparent. This is because it makes him more human and more relatable instead of a hero with no flaws. Now I wonder if in some way or another we are all similar to Oedipus’s character. Another thing that made me want to continue reading this book was the tone. 

 Although the plot of the play was tragic there was a comical and ironic tone which added to my enjoyment. There were many puns and ironic lines that conveyed this tone such as Oedipus’s line when talking about Laius “I will fight for him as if he were my father.” (p.173). This is ironic because little did, he know Laius was his father. One more line delivered by Oedipus that made me laugh was “I have a terrible fear that the blind seer can see” (p. 203). Passages such as these made the book more entertaining. Another character that is quite humorous is the Messenger. The Messenger delivers many important facts which are crucial to the story but with a comical tone. For example, when the Messenger learns why Oedipus was scared to go back to Corinth he says; “Don’t you know? You’ve really nothing to fear. Polybus was nothing to you, that is why, not in blood” (p. 218). This line is funny because Oedipus has feared going back to Corinth his whole life, but the messenger delivers this news like it is no big deal. Something to consider about the tone of this play is that it was originally performed on a stage with an audience so that is why humour might be a prominent part of the tone. Regardless I appreciated the comical characters and puns throughout the book.  

Class Blog Intro

Hello fellow students and Mr. Macknight. Most of you know that my name is Aneesha. For those who don’t, I look forward to meeting you in the future. I was born in Rhode Island but have lived most of my life in Victoria. One of the best things about Vancouver Island is its natural beauty. This is why one of my favorite things to do is to go on walks with my dog. Another pass time of mine is to listen to music, mostly hip hop.

Regarding DP 1 English, my expectations are to learn new things and to read interesting books.  My hopes are that by the end of the year I improve my writing skills. Specifically, criteria D because I struggled with this in MYP 5. I will try to approach DP 1 English with my best effort.