Faculty Sponsor

Professor Allannah Karas

College

Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Classics

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2018

Abstract

In her novel, titled Cassandra, Christa Wolf writes about the society of Cold War Germany in a way that does not directly speak out against her government, using a foreign world to demonstrate her ideas. Cassandra was a princess of Troy who was given the gift of prophecy at a young age, but was cursed so her visions would not be believed. Christa Wolf, a prominent political author from East Germany, became fascinated with the character of Cassandra while on a trip to Greece with her husband, Gerhard. Wolf saw parallels between her life during the Cold War and what she imagines life would have been like for citizens of Troy during the war. In this paper, I show how Wolf depicts the home country of Cassandra as a patriarchal society and, in this way comments on the male dominated government in Germany throughout the Cold War. In Cassandra, Wolf expresses her ideas through examples, showing her readers the cause and effect relationship that she sees between the suppression of women and the violence of war. Coexisting cultures are juxtaposed in the novel to show the differences between them. By going deeper into the daily life of Trojan people and the Trojan women who are often ignored, Wolf demonstrates both her arguments against her current government and the faults of a society where only men make the important decisions.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

My name is Olivia Curcio. I am a Sophomore Exploratory Major, but I am strongly considering declaring a major int he Classics. One of my favorite things about studying the classics is looking at how ancient people thought about topics we still see today and how those perceptions have evolved. The idea that the same problems humans faced centuries ago can still be applied today is fascinating to me.I wrote this paper as part of a Christ College seminar class on the Trojan War, and I was very interested to see how political author Christa Wolf connected the Trojan War to the Cold War.

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