THE be moral, political cultural, philosophical or

THE UNIVERSIT OF ZAMBIA SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES DEPARTMENT OF LITERATURE AND LANGUAGES Tutorial Presentation NAME : AARON MWILA 2016135949 : AMBWENI SILAVWE 2016136137 : ISAAC ZULU 2016137774 : MATHEWS CHIRWA 15056155 : MIYOBA MOONGA 2016143246 : NAMBULA LIWANGA 2016142910 : PATALI PHIRI 15054284 : PRECIOUS BOTHA 2016135116 : VICTORIA TEMBO 14134021 COURSE CODE : LIT 2710 LECTURER : MR M. S BWALYA TUTORIAL HOUR : FRIDAY 11:00-12:00 QUESTION : USING THE THEORIES OF PLATO, HORACE, LEO TOLSTOY AND LONGINUS GIVE A CRITIQUE OF LABOURS OF HERUCLES.Each and every piece of art or literature has some objectives and goals which writers intend to achieve on their readers and these aims can be moral, political cultural, philosophical or just pleasure. After a reader finishes reading a work of art, they try to judge or critique its effect on them and society in general. Thus, this paper will critique the Labours of Herucles using the theories of distinguished critics who include, Plato, Longinus, Horace and Leo Tolstoy. Further, the paper provides definition of key terms, a conclusion and references.

Abrams and Harpham (2009) in the Glossary of Literary Terms defines a theory as knowledge or phenomena that is used to ascertain, categorize and interpret general knowledge or understanding of something. However, away from a theory, Cuddon (1998; 196) explains that criticism deals with “comparison and analysis, interpretation and evaluation of works of literature”. On the other hand, Frye (2000) classify critics as people who judges work of literature and want writers to write in a way they dim fit both to an individual and the general public but do not have the means and resources to produce them. He writes, “critics are intellectuals who have a taste for art but lack power to produce it and money to patronize it…distributing culture to society at a profit to themselves which exploits the artist” (ibid;3). Plato who is a classic critic denounces literature as he believed it is based on imitation of falsehoods or copy of reality. He held that poets or writers are thrice removed from the truth as they are not originators of the ideas thereby producing literature that young people may imitate and in turn become slaves, prostitutes lazy people, and cowards.

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Additionally, he was against writers depicting gods as bad, cruel and unjust. To him, gods are infallible (Habib, 2005). However, Plato did not out rightly condemn literature, but embraces one that according to him, inculcate morals and molds young men and women into responsible citizen who are brave, courageous, persistent and loyal (Day, 2008).

Relating this theory to the Labours of Herucles, thestory is more ethical as it sort to teach young Greeks to be loyal, persistent and brave. In addition, it tries to promote servitude, patience, endurance, perseverance, discipleship, justice and cooperation. Nevertheless, the story violates ethics when it portrays gods as causers of confusion (Bailey,1974). Horace (65-8 BC) is well known for the theory of decorum which holds that for a piece of literature to depict life correctly, it must use characters that reflects reality. That is, people should be assigned roles which correlates with age and abilities. Further, there should be simplicity and unit in a story. Reading the story, it is observable that there is coherence and simplicity of language in the story.

However, the fact that the story this paper is criticizing is a myth means that decorum is violated as can be seen in the creatures used. For instance, a snake with ten heads, Atlas holding the world, Hercules journey to Hades among others ( This is expressed when Harding and Harding (1906) wrote “The next task of Heracles was to kill a great water-snake called hydra. This snake had ten heads, one which was immortal” As for Leo Tolstoy, he held the view that literature teach and beauty or pleasure is only acceptable in morals.

In short, beauty should be a by-product of teaching. Relating to the contexts of the story, it is clear that both beauty and teaching is achieved. As stated earlier, ethics are taught and in addition beauty is in the way language is used. For example, obtaining immortality, every person would like to live forever which is one of the hopes of many Christians (

The last critic is Longinus and his theory of sublime which states that a piece of literatures should be characterized of excellence, of expression and high regard to divinity. Moreover, there should be great thoughts, images metaphors, invocation of emotions and good arrangement of words (Day, 20078. This principle is achieved in Labours of Herucles as there is great thought as thewriter comes up with all sorts of creatures and tries to teach through images. In addition, emotions can be felt when Herucles faces challenges such as death of his friend, when he is banished among others ( In conclusion, the theories in the Labours of Herucles are achieved in one way and violated in the other. For instance, ethics, aesthetics, decorum and sublime are achieved in some of the labours while in others, they are not.

Moreover, these theories can be used to analyze and be linked to different pieces of literature.Refences Abrams M, H. and Harpham G, G. (2009). A Glossary of Literary Terms (9th Edition).

Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Bailey A, A. (1974).

The Labours of Herucles. Lucis :Publishing Company. Cuddon a.

(1998). Penguin Dictionary of Literrary Terms. London: Blackwell publishers Ltd. Day G. (2008). Literary Criticism; A New History.

Edinburg: Edinburg University Press. Frye N. (2000).

Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Habib M,A R. (2007).

Modern Literary Criticism and Theory. Maldan: Blackwell Publishers. Harding C, H. and Harding S, B. (1906).

Labours of Heracles; Mythical Story of Labours of Heracles. Scott Foresman and Company.


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