or The Golden Ass
Be familiar with the following terms, characters and places:
Socrates and Meroe
Hypata, town in Thessaly
Milo Pamphile Photis
Byrrhena Thelephron Festival of Laughter
Lamachus (recalls 5th c. B.C. Theban general)
Thrasyleon ("Lionheart") and Demochares ("People-Pleaser")
Psyche ("soul") and Cupid
Charite ("Grace") and Haemus/Tlepolemos
Thrasyllus (thrasus="rash, hasty")
Cenchreae, port of Corinth
Zachlas, priest of Isis
1. How does the author maintain our interest? In other words, what story-telling
techniques does he employ to create in us suspense, surprise, fear, and
sympathy or dislike for different characters? How do these techniques
differ from Homer's or Vergil's?
2. How does Apuleius structure his novel? How does he link stories together
and keep us from thinking we are simply reading a collection of unrelated
3. What is the relationship between teller and listener in these tales?
How does audience within the novel (including Lucius) react to individual
tales? Is there a difference between Lucius as narrator and as listener?
How does this compare with Odysseus' telling of his travels in Odyssey 9-12 or Aeneas' account of the fall of Troy in Aeneid 2-3?
4. Examine one tale and explain how it acts as a microcosm of the entire
novel and incorporate themes that are present throughout the novel?
5. Some say that the novel is essentially a religious allegory about
the death and rebirth of Lucius' soul. Others believe that the stories
are there only to entertain. A third group would prefer to look at the
novel primarily in human terms and rationalize the magic and divine apparatus.
What do you think Apuleius' purpose is? Why? What in the text supports
6. What role does magic play in these tales and what role do the gods
play? To what extent would you say that Apuleius is a true believer in
the gods of Homer? What role does Fortune play in the Golden Ass? Does
it cause action in the novel? Is it paralle to Fate in the Aeneid?
7. Certainly the idea of journey is present in every work in the course.
What is the hero searching for in each narrative? Even if the goals are
different, does the hero accomplish his goal in the similar ways in each
work? In what ways is Lucius like Odysseus or Aeneas or Tayo and in what
8. Like Tayo in Ceremony, Lucius= journey is shaped by his meetings with
strong female characters: Pamphile, Byrrhena, Charite, Isis. To what extent
does gender shape Lucius= world?
9. We have seen the shift from epic poetry to prose narrative in the
course. How does the difference between poetry and prose affect Apuleius'
narrative? How does he recall epic techniques or styles or themes? How
are they transformed? For example, what happens to invocation, simile,
apostrophe, and catalogue in Apuleius' novel? What difference does it
make that Apuleius and Silko wrote primarily prose instead of poetry?