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Tutor profile: Colm M.

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Colm M.
Master of Arts (MA) in Classics
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Questions

Subject: Philosophy

TutorMe
Question:

What is the main topic of Plato's "Meno"?

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Colm M.
Answer:

The main topic of Plato's "Meno" appears to be the teachability of virtue, approached from the Socratic definitions of those two words. Socrates sets out his own response to the dialogue's initial question (is virtue taught?) in his own manner, which is frustrating to his interlocutor Meno (and perhaps to the reader, who cannot easily put their finger on the crux of the matter). The nature of virtue is considered, with certain key elements emerging from this initial discussion: it is a whole, and it is not a form of knowledge (in the sense that knowledge is that which is taught ). These elements lend themselves to the Socratic view of teaching, which is developed in a way during the recollection demonstration. Meno is also brought to recollect these things and now has an answer to his question: virtue cannot be taught, insofar as the manner of his sophistic educators is considered teaching. He must apply himself to the inquiry into the essence of virtue in the (perhaps ultimately impossible but pertinent) attempt to recollect it (and thus to be closer to attaining it). He might then be able to fasten his true beliefs and himself develop the answer given to his initial question.

Subject: Literature

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Question:

Compare and contrast the protagonists of Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Mauriac's Thérèse Desqueyroux.

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Colm M.
Answer:

Emma Bovary and Thérèse Desqueyroux present some clear similarities. Firstly, they are both restricted by the gender norms of their times: Emma is a free spirit who tries to flout her marriage and everything it represents, while Thérèse is also caught in a loveless marriage and suffers from her social and gendered obligations. Secondly, they both resort to illicit activity in an attempt to liberate themselves from these norms: Thérèse seeks to escape hers by absent-mindedly poisoning her husband, only for the matter to be hushed up and put away, much like herself (her eventual release is but a bittersweet consolation, the damage to her person having already been done), while Emma indebts herself and her husband with her lavish and adulterous lifestyle. However, there is a crucial contrast in the expression of their own selves: Madame Bovary is somewhat able to express her grand and romanticising personality while Thérèse's own person is unable to fully express and try to achieve them, handicapped in a similar way to Louisa Gradgrind in Dickens' "Hard Times", her feelings having always been buried by her circumstances.

Subject: Linguistics

TutorMe
Question:

What would you say are the key linguistic features of the Arcado-Cypriot Greek dialects?

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Colm M.
Answer:

On the one hand, both the Arcadian and Cypriot dialects present similar features such as the raising of -ε to -ι and of -o to -υ, various isoglosses with each other and with Linear B, as well as peculiar genitive forms in -αυ and the use of the dative with prepositions expressing distance. These elements give rise to various discrepancies between themselves, however, such as the exclusively Cypriot genitive in -α (and then in -ōν). The Cypriot dialect's syllabary does prove to be problematic, as the lack of distinction between long and short vowels prevents certain clear equivalences to be made between the two dialects, such as in the case of the inscribed e-ke-ne, might or might not yield ἔχὲν, consistent with the Arcadian thematic present infinitive ending (as well as a “West Greek” innovation). Arcadian for its part does distinguish long vowels from the short, allowing it to establish this link with the more “severe” vocalisms of other dialects

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