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Well, did you enjoy your snow day last Thursday? I wonder how many of you had heard Snowthunder before. Maybe I'll ask in today's class. I'm going to repeat Thursday's class today. I'm hoping to add a little more, so we won't fall behind.
For this day we're going to take a look at two documents which "look" the same, but are very different. The Suppliants, which we are reviewing is an excerpt from a play. Perhaps I'll call on a couple of would-be actors in class to enact it for us, the audience. As one can understand, the playwright, Euripides, has a point of view here. One of the persons in the dialogue favors democracy, the other doesn't. I think you won't have any trouble deciding which takes which position.
Be Warned! The Melian Dialogue isn't an easy read. The translation is old, and the language complicated. You can do it, but leave yourself time to do it. While this looks very much like a play script, it is more history by Thucydides, who wrote what we read as Pericles Funeral Oration. This does not mean that he copied what was said word for word. But he has a reputation for being as accurate as possible. I don't want to give away the plot, so I won't. You'll know what happened to whom and the excuses for it by the time you've read your way through it.
On one side of the bargaining Table sit the Melian representatives and on the other side, the Athenian representatives. Note one thing: ALL this happens out of sight and mind from the ordinary population of Meles.
After you've read the dialogue, watch the dramatic presentation of it in the video to the left.
The video on the right presents a contemporary analysis of the video by a young man who looks to be a recent college graduate--perhaps he's still in college. He gives you his take on the the dispute between Meles and Athens..
Analyze this the same way you've analyzed The Suppliants. Here are a couple of other things to think about.
1.Does anything the Melians say change the thinking of the Athenian delegation at all?
2.Identify the different arguments for neutrality presented by the Melian delegation. Use a markup color of your choice. Don't forget to make an index of what the color or colors you use mean.
3.Put in the same position, would you take the stance the Melians took at the end of the negotiations? Why or why not? (Try to ignore the outcome as you do this--remember that the Melian Ambassadors didn't know what was going to happen to their island and its population). Use a sticky note for this.
4Was it fair for the Melian Ambassadors to exclude the rest of the population from the decision making process? Why or why not? Would it likely have made a difference?
Then Comes Part II, the Melian Dialogue
Once you've completed the assignments, add them to your drop box. Don't forget to hit the submit button.
Also, download, Annotateaccording to the Prompt below, the document from Core Canon, and then upload into your Drop Box...
At the beginning of the document, Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, explains what he is setting out to do in the part of his essay which follows. We might call this establishing a chain of reason.
1.How many tasks does he set out for himself to do? Remember there may be more than one task per sentence or paragraph.
2. How would you explain the sequence he sets of the objectives he sets out to do? Is the sequence important? If so, write a short sticky note explaining why you think it is so.
3.Citizen, according to Aristotle, has more than one definition. Which do you think is fairest? Does any definition seem close to the definition as countries consider the term now. If you are an international student, think about the definition of citizen in your country. Include this in a comment (sticky note) so we can share these together.
4.In the second paragraph on the first page, Aristotle mentions differences in terms of different kinds of offices citizens may hold. Are there similarities in our era? Remember that if you need help defining specific terms such as dicast or ecclesiast. you can use Google to help you find an answer.
5.On the next page he asks a rhetorical question--one which we'll see addressed by the author of On Walden Pond centuries later: Whether the virtue of a good man and a good citizen is the same or not. At this point in the course, what might your answer be? We will come back to this question several times in the semester, and see how others have answered this question.
6Consider the last paragraph before part X. Would you agree with Aristotle or not? Most of us now will never hold public office. By Aristotle's argument, what would be our situation?
7.In part XI, begins to argue that government by majority is better than by just a few or a single person. He uses an analogy, comparing government to a feast. Can you think of another analogy which might work? Think about sports, for example.
We may not get to all of these on Tuesday. I would like to have you get your reflections on these into your dropbox if at all possible. We'll continue our discussion of Aristotle on Thursday, and I would like to have you add a second consideration of Aristotle to your dropbox for that day. We'll consider whichever prompts we don't consider Tuesday, and then continue to the end of the document.
Download, Annotateaccording to the Prompt below, the document from Core Canon, and then upload into your Drop Box...
We will continue our discussion of Aristotle, and also look at the Death of Socrates, who died by execution. I would like to have you look at the video below and to the left before class. We will look at the other one together.
8.At the bottom of 5, carrying over to page 6, Aristotle makes this statement. "The goodness or badness, justice or injustice, of laws varies of necessity with the constitutions of states. This, however, is clear, that the laws must be adapted to the constitutions. But if so, true forms of government will of necessity have just laws, and perverted forms of government will have unjust laws. Can you think of some "unjust" or perverse laws in the history of the United States, or in the case of international students in the countries from which you come?
9.On Page 7, Aristotle lists fiveforms of Democracy. Find them and number them, underlining enough of each so a person can understand the difference. Which form does Aristotle seem to favor? Do you have a favorite yourself? Using sticky notes to identify these. Do any of these forms resemble Democracy in the United States today?
10. Finally, he gets to the point in the middle of page 8, asserting that the best government formed by those in the middle: neither too rich nor too poor. What is he reason? Do you agree with him or not? Either way, share your argument in a sticky note. Note that this argument continues just about the end of the document. Note, as well, that he doesn't think that government by the middle class is "democratical". Can you see how he differentiates between these?
11. Does the closing argument shed any light on the American Political Scene today? Give your final thoughts about this in a final text box or sticky note.