This course we are working with the idea that myths are stories told for a point, tailored with a specific audience in mind. And we have used this idea over and over while reading the Odyssey by Homer, Theogony by Hesiod, and other texts. For the previous essay, you pretended that you had been selected to be a student representative on a curriculum development committee at The Ohio State University. Your submission to the committee arguing the inclusion of the Odyssey was a big hit – the committee members were so compelled that they adopted your suggestion. But your victorious pride was soon injured when one of the committee members, on hearing that you’re enrolled in a course on Classical Mythology and remembering that Hesiod’s Theogony is usually read in that class, disdainfully said to you, “Wait, so you’re also reading the Theogony by Hesiod?! What a massive waste of time! Isn’t that text just full of bad parents and long, boring lists of weird abstract ideas, strange monsters, and promiscuous gods? Not to mention the worst of them all – that adulterer Zeus!” You disagree – it’s not a “massive waste of time.” So, squaring your shoulders, you respond in defense of this famous, and famously misunderstood, work of literature.
In this essay, you must make an argument as to how the “song” beginning at line 116 could have the effect on a recently aggrieved person that Hesiod indicates in lines 99-104. In other words, the essay answers the question, how could the Theogony bring release to a broken mind?
To develop your argument, think about the themes we’ve focused on – the story’s “points,” provocative questions, issues – and the audience in question, namely a suffering person. The essay must state its thesis in a short introductory paragraph, followed by a few body paragraphs actually making the argument. As part of its evidence the essay must cite specific passages of the Theogony at least four times (not necessarily quote, but cite), using line number: 450. You may only use the Theogony as evidence. Further details are below. For more tips on writing this type of essay, and a post-writing checklist, see the relevant documents.