[CLAS 0152]
Greek Tragedy

Rate This Class

Professor: Witkin M

Value of Course / Overall Score

Not Much (0%
Average (42.9%)
Valuable (57.1%)


Friendly (0%)
Average (42.9%)
Competitive (57.1%)

Class Atmosphere

Boring (14.3%)
Average (71.4%)
Fascinating (14.3%)

Prep Time Needed

1-2hr (14.3%)
3-5hr (42.9%)
6-8hr (42.9%)
9-11hr (0%)
12+ hr (0%)

Grade Weighting

Harder (28.6%)
Average (0%)
Easier (71.4%)

Adequate Assistance

Yes (73.3%)
No (26.7%)

Would Recommend Class

Yes (57.1%)
No (42.9%)

Evaluation Comments for Witkin M

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  11. The material was fascinating, but Prof. Witkin is condescending and has a superiority complex. Discussions were lectures, and if you had some insight to add that didn?t directly agree with Witkin?s interpretation, it was somewhat bashed. It was clear that he knows his stuff, but as for teaching at the undergrad level, it?s questionable. In a few papers, he graded me down because he didn?t like my writing style, even though he wrote that he agreed with my ideas and thought that it was well-researched. I just felt like he gave me a hard time. Also I often felt that he favored Classics majors, which I am not. I felt out of place in the class, and a lot of that feeling comes from Prof. Witkin?s attitude in class towards his students.
  12. Great lectures, and some good discussions (though we only discussed things when something actually came up; the discussion session was otherwise another lecture, which I think was just as well). Witkin prepares the students thoroughly for every assignment. The exams were really geared towards thorough understanding, and not memorization or proof-that-one-did-the-readings; if you haven't been skipping class, you should be able to get fine grades. As for the content, it's one of the most fascinating "liberal arts" type courses I can recommend. The plays involve many of the most basic ethical, philosophical, social, political, and ultimately *dramatic* questions of human existence -- but the treatment isn't remotely trite. and the plays are truly entertaining, and though they're tragedies they run the gamut of emotions; humor especially. and so.. I write too much, but I really did enjoy this course.
  13. What an awesome class. I took this class just to try something different, and Professor Witkin sucked me into the excitement of classic literature. An extremely accomplished, knowledgeable and respectable professor who effectively responds to questions and encourages thoughtful discussion.
  14. In the beginning I thought that I was a complete idiot because I couldn't grasp his superfluous tangents and connections to other Greek masterpieces. But after a while you learn that most of what he says in lecture is not really necessary to succeed in the class. Overall I really learned a lot about Greek Tragedy and received a very thorough teaching of classical literature. Witkin is extremely nice and a really easy grader (I did not find him condescending or arrogant at all. If you read the supplementary worksheets he gives out to go along with the readings you should have no problem with the essays.
  15. I really liked Professor Witkin's approach to studying literature. This guy knows Greek literature inside and out, and you'll learn a ton. His handouts (as well as his lectures) are comparable to an extremely nauseating amusement park ride, but it is extremely gratifying when you finally understand what he is trying to convey. Yes, you'll definitely get an easy A if you synthesize his arguments, but I would not say that he is unopen to your interpretation (it just better have air-tight logic). Set some time aside for reading the plays and re-reading Witkin's handouts and you'll get a lot out of this class.
  16. My only issue with this class was that the lectures were set up in a way that actually somewhat hindered my learning of the texts. Discussion were incredible and Witkin did a great job trying to keep them interesting but he seemed to try to use the same format in lectures, which just wasn't possible. In class, unless you were 100% certain that you were already right before you offered up what you thought was going on, most people didn't find the courage to speak, which meant that only about 5 people our of the 30 in every lecture actually spoke. Witkin does, however, do a fantastic job of bringing these plays to life, and I never found myself being bored in this class, just frustrated and somewhat intimidated. Also, I don't know why everybody thinks Witkin only wants to hear his ideas spat back at him, I think that he merely has his ideas and if yours happen to differ, he expects full reasoning for why you think that way. He is, however, very open to new ideas, and you can tell he loves learning from his students.
  17. There's no doubt that the plays covered in this course are delightful and fascinating pieces of literature. Witkin is a brilliant professor, but tends to talk down to his students. Feel free to participate in class discussion as long as you hold his views on the matter in discussion. While Witkin's essays shed light on a lot of the plays' substance, be careful when writing your own- he tends to be rather critical of students' writing styles. If you want to gain a perspective on some of the greatest literary works of all time, this class is for you. If you're more interested in uplifting, participation-centered education, take a different Classics course.
  18. Rarely have I ever studied a piece of literature so thoroughly. Although you end up spending a few weeks each on the Oedipus Cycle and the Oresteia, Professor Witkin knows these plays better than his own handwriting and is delighted to impart his knowledge to you. All classes are a sort of lecture-discussion hybrid, which actually isn't my favorite, but most of the time it worked. Sometimes we'd get a bit bogged down on one particular passage or page, but that was usually due to the fact that he was careful to devote a great deal of consideration and explanation to all questions and points made by students, which is hard to find fault with. The paper topics themselves are about a page long each, which sounds daunting at first but is actually very helpful in writing, because it gives you a lot to work with. He definitely has his theories and ideas about how passages and plays should be interpreted, and though sometimes I was a bit skeptical, it was interesting and useful to gain a perspective on millenium-old plays that you can't just look up in someone else's book.
  19. What a truly enlightening class! It's mind blowing to look back and realize how incredibly ignorant I was of the depth and profundity of Greek Literature. This class was extremely challenging but so very rewarding once I was able to truly grasp the material and explicate my very own interpretation of the text through my papers. Even if you've read some Greek Lit. in the past, taking this class will illuminate themes, motifs and issues that you never would have extrapolated on your own. Witkin does a fabulous job of making the material come to life through facilitating intense classroom discussions that force you to contemplate the complexity of Greek thought. My only complaint would be that our class was so thorough with the texts that we would spend three weeks on one play, thus limiting the span of readings we covered throughout the semester... In fact, I believe we only covered about half the material on the syllabus. We truly sucked all the life out of each play, though, which made the class fun and engaging. Witkin definitely knows his stuff...and you'll learn a little Greek as well! :) Highly recommended!
  20. Don't take this course. Professor Witkin is a brilliant guy but he's also a pompous ass. Very narrow minded when it comes to even listening to students struggling to figure out an interpretation, he becomes impatient. He basically asks you to regurgitate whatever he has said. There is no room for freedom of thought if you want a decent grade in his course.
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