Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Twelfth Night, or What You Will, written by William Shakespeare and "Did Ancient Identity Depend on Ethnicity?" presented by Dr. Erich Gruen present identity, the overarching theme.  In this comedy, Shakespeare cleverly places love and identity at the heart of the play.  Shakespeare waste no time in exploring the idea of both, leaving his audience with an explicit understanding.  In comparison, Dr. Gruen leads us to analyze the origins of identity by analyzing its relevance to the ancient world and modern world.  He does not hesitate to do this, which reflects the importance of this idea.

In Twelfth Night, or What You Will, written by William Shakespeare we are immediately introduced to the problem of love.  Simply put, Shakespeare mirrors the Duke and Olivia, two characters with similar characteristics in regards to love.  Both are intrigued by the idea of love, and through this we become aware of their traits.  As neither one is willing to submit to one another they begin to build a relationship around Viola, whom is under disguise.  Here, we see that love and identity are at the climax of the play.

In search for her identity, Viola takes on a role that is less than revealing of her moral character.  In Viola not only do the characters come to learn what deep love is, the audience begins to learn that identity is not as much a difference than love.  Throughout the play characters struggle with their sense of identity, playing it safe by masking/disguising their true character.  As the play begins to unfold, the audience and characters are indirectly in search for their identity.  Through the loss of identity, we find love.

Dr. Erich Gruer's "Did Ancient Identity Depend on Ethnicity?" maintains a take on the ancient world and modern world vocabulary.  He furthers his discuss by first identifying what identity and ethnicity are and then juxtaposing the two.  Actually, he is very successful with exploring the underlying meaning of the two.  Dr. Gruer sets the foundation for the meaning of identity, how it is used in modern society, and how that can be applied to how significant, if at all, it was to the ancients.  With frequent reference to stories within the Bible, Dr. Gruer relates the topic to Jesus Christ in a sense.  In exploring identity we also come to realize that identity stems from the basic human needs of life.

The most important thing I learned this semester was to correctly analyze literary works.  Where I failed to fully interpret the works, I definitely found joy in hearing what my classmates had to say.  Not only was I able to ask further questions but it allowed me to understand that Loyola does have a body of talented individuals.  Whether we were right or wrong we each seemed to help each other further what they had to say.  We led each other into wanting to discuss and participate in the lectures.  If that is one thing to take away from this class then that would be it.

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