In Cassie Alston’s literature class, seventh grade students have been studying ancient Greek and Roman mythology. The Western world has origins in ancient Greece, with allusions to ancient Greece’s deities and heroes abounding in modern literature. In the six week study, the students learn the names and powers of various deities that appear in the Greek pantheon and study several well-known myths as they read through Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths. Last Friday, students presented an in-class performance of the Greek myth of Narcissus, the man who fell in love with his own reflection.
“Narcissus needs to think he’s God’s gift to women,” Alston announced while selecting students to portray the seven characters in the skit. “I want to be God’s gift,” one enthusiastic student replied. A hilarious performance soon followed, with several female characters portrayed by young men – in keeping with the Greek tradition of using an all-male cast in theatre.
The culture that named constellations after characters in their stories still inspires imagination and creativity today. The reading, skits, and discussions that these seventh graders engage in as they study mythology open doors to more deeply understand the world around them through literature, art, and history.