This week, we are working to lay more intellectual foundations for our studies by considering the classical theories of Aristotle (on the subject of tragedy) and the recent scholarship of Joseph Campbell (on the “monomyth” and the mythical hero). And at last, we have gotten to our first mythical narratives of the class, myths of creation and flood/apocalypse stories from the ancient past, as depicted in various cultures. Thus, to fully understand the theories in question and the first stories on the syllabus, I want see how you can tie them together in a very specific way. You have two options for this exploration. In the first case, you may apply certain ideas from Aristotle’s theories of tragedy to a specific myth (assigned for Wednesday) of your choosing. I was primarily thinking that it would be interesting to see how the plot of your chosen tale fits certain “tragic” modes (such as leading toward a “catharsis”), or how the characters fit Aristotle’s ideals — especially of the “tragic hero.” Alternately, you can work with and through key ideas from Campbell’s influential output. If, for example, you would like to explore the notion of a “monomyth,” you might compare/contrast the similarities between several of the creation tales; on the other hand, it might be interesting to think about how a given story depicts the stages of the hero’s journey according to Campbell’s terms (i.e. separation, initiation, return). It’s all about applied critical thinking here, and it will be intriguing to see what kinds of intellectual connections you can make and the interpretive suggestions you might draw out by utilizing the ideas of Aristotle or Campbell.