Cleopatra: The oil painting "Cleopatra" by John William Waterhouse (1888). Death Pentheus Louvre: Pentheus torn apart by Agave and Ino on an Attic red-figure cosmetics bowl lid, c. 450–425 BC.

Basic Program Year Two: Autumn


This course was available in the past and may be presented again as part of the Basic Program of Liberal Education curriculum.

The Year 2 seminar is devoted to three great plays: Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Euripides' The Bacchae, and Shakespeare's Anthony & Cleopatra. A close reading of Aristotle's Poetics will enhance our understanding of the nature of tragedy as a dramatic genre. We will compare the treatment of themes such as power, politics, deception, passion, order, chaos, and art in ancient and modern poetic drama. The Tutorial is a close reading of Homer's epic poem, The Iliad.

Course Outline

Year 2 Autumn Reading Schedule


Week Seminar
1 Sophocles, Oedipus the King, lines 1-215 
2 Sophocles, Oedipus the King, lines 216-910
3 Sophocles, Oedipus the King, Line 911-end
4 Aristotle, Poetics, Chapters 1-13
5 Aristotle, Poetics, Chapters 14-17
6 Aristotle, Poetics, Chapters 18-26
7 Euripides, Bacchae, lines 1-861
8 Euripides, Bacchae, 861-end
9 Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, Act I-III
10 Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, Acts IV-V


Week Tutorial
1 Iliad, Book 1
2 Book 2
3 Book 3
4 Book 4
5 Books 5-8
6 Books 9-12
7 Books 13-16
8 Books 17-20
9 Books 21-23
10 Book 24

Required Texts

  • Sophocles: Sophocles I, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226311517.
  • Aristotle: Poetics, trans. by James Hutton, Norton, ISBN 978-0393952162.
  • Euripides: Euripides V, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226308982.
  • Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, Bantam, ISBN 978-0553212891.
  • Homer: Iliad Fagles, trans., Penguin, ISBN 978-0140445923.


Books are available using the Textbook order form from the Gleacher Center Bookstore online , or by using the ISBN number to order the correct edition elsewhere.


Online registration deadline: Thursday, Sept 22 at 5 PM CT.

Taking a Graham School Remote Course: You will receive an invitation to join Canvas about a week before the course begins. Please accept the invitation by clicking 'Get Started' and create a log-in for Canvas using your email as the user name and create a password. Then go to the Dashboard and click on your course. Next click on Zoom Professional Education and you will see the link to "Join" your classroom. Canvas houses the course information including the course syllabus, announcements, and discussions. You will not be able to participate in your online class unless you accept the Canvas invitation and set up your account.

For help visit,  Online Resources page to find step by step instructions.