Analysis Of The Cup Of Nestor

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The other day I was walking around Kingston and noticed a woman walking next to a man who was wearing a shirt reading “I’m With Stupid ---->” (with the arrow pointing straight at the woman.) I chortled momentarily, and it made me think about this impending essay about the cup of Nestor found in Pithicusaean tomb. Would archaeologists one day uncover this shirt and create an intense academic discussion as to the meaning of this phrase, and whether it was intended as a joke or as a serious warning (“Beware! This person’s intelligence is below average! Please refrain from discussing Freud, Nietzsche and Baudrillard with said individual!”) I soon realized that the likelihood of this shirt not biodegrading by the time it was uncovered was slim to …show more content…
There is some argument as to whether the first line is written in prose or iambic trimeter, but either way this is a normal way one would start a curse according to Hansen in his article “Pithecusean Humor: The Interpretation of Nestor’s Cup Reconsidered.” The reader of this inscription “would at once recognize the formula and believe that he was reading an ordinary curse against anyone who stole the cup” (Hansen, 40-41.) Hansen imagines that the only readers of said cup would be guests in the home of the owner, but if we consider the manner in which Nestor traveled with his cup in Homer’s Iliad, it could conceivably be anyone who was in the company of the cup owner. Pushing this non sequitur aside, however, what is most important is that the first line leads the reader to believe they are reading an inscription which is not welcoming them to partake from the drink within, or even touch the cup itself, as it takes the classic form of a curse. This form soon changes, however, for the next two lines which are written in …show more content…
Critchley explains that “the body that I am becomes the body that I have, the body-subject becomes an object for me which both the possibility of taking up a critical position, and also underlines my alienation from the world and nature” (Critchley, 42.) This concept of being and having underlines an inherent critical position of humanity: the gap between our physical selves and metaphysical individuality. Humor, it can be argued, is based upon “the return of the physical into the metaphysical, where the pretended tragical sublimity of the human collapses into a comic ridiculousness which is perhaps even more tragic” (Critchley, 42.) By critically examining the nature of our body and its natural reaction to alcoholic beverages, the cup causes the reader to briefly consider the nature of humanity. The reader is laughing both with the body and at the body, “as if we temporarily inhabit a Gnostic universe, where the fact of our materiality comes as some-thing of a surprise” (Critchley, 43.) This is similar to the cognitive shift associated with incongruity. The use of the word seized, an active verb, to describe the way in which the amorous feelings will overcome the drinker emphasizes this relationship: although it is the individual who uses the cup to drink, it is the cup and the drink within which then seize control over the body and

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