statue of Hecate Final Paper


Due May 20

Step 1: Choose one of the major Olympian goddesses (Demeter, Hera, Aphrodite, Artemis, or Athena) to study in more depth than the class allows.

Step 2: Read the sections on your goddess in the course text (Baring, Anne and Jules Cashford, The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image).

Step 3: Search the World Wide Web for relevant pages on your goddess. Hand in the following on April 20: a statement of which goddess you have adopted and a log of all the web sites you visited, including correct URLs and a brief description of the resources on the site which are relevant to your essay. The following sites will be particularly useful:

Step 4: Read the sections on your goddess in the following books (all on reserve); although not every book deals with all the goddesses, you are required to read all of these that do treat your goddess. You may also find this on-line article useful: The Anthropology of Mysticism: Reviving the Goddess (an independent study project by Paula Trimble).

Step 5: Write an essay that will include all the following points in a coherent, connected reflective essay; as you discuss your goddess's visual appearance and attributes, include xeroxes of relevant images from your web search and/or the books you have consulted:

  1. Analyze your goddess's archetypal role and symbols, including such points as her visual appearance and her interaction with other deities and mortals in myths (how do these relate to the framework for the analysis of feminine archetypal symbolism that we have studied in this class—Neumann's diagram, the two characters of the feminine, positive and negative symbolism, etc.?)
  2. Discuss the values, positive and negative, that your goddess represents for modern human beings (e.g., what does she suggest about the worth of the feminine? about its dangers or pitfalls? about relationships? about psychological development and maturity?)
  3. Explain how the mythic and artistic representations of classical goddesses that we have been studying provide a kind of "map" for charting one's course through the type of inner and outer archetypal influences a modern woman is likely to encounter. In your opinion, can a knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of the feminine archetype change one's way of looking at the world? Can it make a significant contribution to an individual's personal search for identity in the face of cultural sex stereotyping and pressures?

NB: This paper will combine research with your own personal thoughts about this goddess; it is not primarily a research paper, but rather a reflective essay. You will, however, need not only the class notes, slides, and discussion, but also the readings and other research I have required in order to gather sufficient information about the goddess for your reflections. Therefore you must include a bibliography of sources consulted; any direct quotations or borrowed ideas or interpretations must be properly cited and documented.

You may, if you wish further information on your goddess, also check other mythology handbooks and analytic discussions of mythology, but this is not required There follows a brief listing of some additional sources you may find helpful; do not use popularized and romanticized handbooks of mythology such as the ones by Edith Hamilton or Bulfinch.

March, 1999
Barbara F. McManus
CLS 061 Syllabus