Presenter Information

Stephen LazarFollow

Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

venom, magic, women

Biography

Stephen is a sophomore at Marshall University, majoring in both Latin and Humanities/Classics. He lives in Huntington, West Virginia and is avidly pursuing a career in both classics and music, specifically as a pianist. He has a great interest in the Latin language, as well as ancient literature.

Major

Latin, Humanities: Classics

Advisor for this project

Christina Franzen

Start Date

19-4-2019 2:00 PM

End Date

19-4-2019 3:15 PM

Abstract

The venomous, serpentine imagery used referencing women in ancient Greek tragedies reflects on man’s conscious awareness of a woman’s strength, both internally and externally, as well as his reason for attempting to suppress this power. Clytemnestra from Aeschylus’ Oresteia is a paradigm representation of this, being referred to as “some water snake, some viper whose touch is rot even to him who felt no fang strike.” The etymology behind these words shed some light on the intense feminine detriment that they hold: viper, specifically being a viviparous snake, referring to a female snake with the duty to produce offspring; venomous, from the Latin venenatus, meaning either imbued with venom or imbued with magical powers; and a water snake who brings forth rot without fangs, in reference to an eel who is so dangerous that it should not even be touched. Utilizing this etymology, man’s perception of the dangers behind the touch of a woman unbound are displayed, as well as man’s fear of the true power hiding behind the surface of women in ancient literature.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 19th, 2:00 PM Apr 19th, 3:15 PM

Snakes, Magic, and Venom: the Power of a Woman Unbound

The venomous, serpentine imagery used referencing women in ancient Greek tragedies reflects on man’s conscious awareness of a woman’s strength, both internally and externally, as well as his reason for attempting to suppress this power. Clytemnestra from Aeschylus’ Oresteia is a paradigm representation of this, being referred to as “some water snake, some viper whose touch is rot even to him who felt no fang strike.” The etymology behind these words shed some light on the intense feminine detriment that they hold: viper, specifically being a viviparous snake, referring to a female snake with the duty to produce offspring; venomous, from the Latin venenatus, meaning either imbued with venom or imbued with magical powers; and a water snake who brings forth rot without fangs, in reference to an eel who is so dangerous that it should not even be touched. Utilizing this etymology, man’s perception of the dangers behind the touch of a woman unbound are displayed, as well as man’s fear of the true power hiding behind the surface of women in ancient literature.