Phil.3160                                                                                                    Professor Kaufman

                                                                                                                     Dugan 200G; Tel. 934-3913                                           


 Course Description:  This course undertakes an analysis of modern film in its historical context as an outgrowth of the Greek invention of tragic and comic drama.  We will examine the Greek idea of tragedy and the tragic hero and apply this analysis to the modern form of the tragic hero: the cowboy and the gangster.  We will also explore the origin of Greek tragedy and the modern versions of the comic hero, from Buster Keaton to Monty Python.  Central to this course will be an analysis of the Aristotelian idea of catharsis or purification as the function of both tragedy and comedy.

 Films to be viewed:  Shane, The Wild Bunch, Scarface (1932), Goodfellas, The General, Duck Soup, M*A*S*H, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 

 Students will be required to view these films in a timely fashion; all of these films are available for viewing at the Media Center South.

 Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, students should be able to

n      Understand the major philosophical theories of comic and tragic drama

n      Recognize the origins of modern film in ancient drama

n      Analyze films in terms of common themes and structures     

 Required Texts:         Aristotle, On Poetry and Style (Hackett)

                                    Sophocles, Complete Plays (Bantam)

                                    Aristophanes, Complete Plays (Bantam)

                                    Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy  ( Dover )


Assignments:              Two in-class examinations                                 40%

                                    Two essays, 4 pages each                                 60%

In addition, attendance and participation may influence the final grade. 

Please note that you must complete all assignments with a passing grade in order to pass the course.


Attendance Policy:     This course is organized around class lectures and discussion.  Attendance is therefore required.  Students who miss a substantial number of classes will receive a lowered grade, and potential failure in the class for more than 6 unexcused absences.


Citation of Sources:   Students will be expected to be familiar with the rules for the citation of sources as given in the Catalogue.  A failure to give proper citations in an essay can result in failure on that assignment or even failure in the course.