Friday, October 19, 2012

Letters from Alvina Krause: The Greeks Fall 1974

Notes to my junior class: the Greeks.

Krause's Comments
Excellent foundation on which to build. Be sure you bring it to concrete realizations. Insist that your students find definite modern personifications of Greek drama -- Who, today, is Creon? For me: McBurney -- Smooth, good looking politician who forced his way into a place of power to destroy the school his predecessor had created. [James H. McBurney, Dean of the School of Speech 1942-1972 -- DD]
I have always felt the Kennedy family is the epitome of Greek drama. Robert was Haemon -- Rose is Greek in facing destiny (I rebel at the Camelot application to the Kennedys)
Electra -- surely she is still among you. Lilla Heston [Charlton's sister and Chair of the Interpretation Department 1979-1984 -- DD] was once Electra -- through personal strength she survived--
I am sure that Mrs. Martin Luther King has elements of Medea in her. Not capable of killing her children, but great depth of indignation. Perhaps you will find Medea among the blacks. Remember her tragic rage was not only against Jason but against the society which created woman's role it it.
For Antigone remember my story of the Hungarian Youth watching the Russian tanks roll by --
Jacqueline Kennedy has qualities of Antigone -- she didn't choose physical death.

And I remember the students -- men and women -- who drifted into my house that afternoon of Kennedy's assassination. There was a true Greek chorus -- Speechless, numb, lost, they found their way to my house: Frank Galati -- an armful of books clasped close to his chest -- sat by the radio, tears, silent tears, helpless, hopeless tears streaming down his cheeks.
I sat by a window my eyes closed tightly wishing I could shut out the fearful words I had heard: "We break this program to announce -----"
There is the beginning of a Greek chorus -- begin with such realities to take you into Greek tragedy.

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