Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




It can be said that there is no such thing as an unbiased viewpoint. For a newspaper columnist, a politician, or a radio talk-show host, this is good news. But for the historian, it proves to be somewhat problematic. Is it possible to gain an accurate view of the facts if there is, essentially, no such thing? Most history is written by the victors, the conquerors who wish to glorify themselves and their cause. Where is the record for the lower classes, women, and children? Even those who purport to be impartial have views that are colored by their backgrounds, the experiences and culture that have shaped their outlooks and created their character. The answer to the problem, then, is to turn a disadvantage into an advantage. The dedicated historian must examine these biases and use them to better understand the culture and person from which these biases come. In order to do so, it is useful to compare two opinions from different time periods. Common myths in the ancient world were treated by diverse authors over and over again, and so they provide a standard by which to compare two presentations. Theseus, the founder of Athens, was the subject, of both a biography by Plutarch and a play by Euripides, among numerous other ancient texts. An examination of Theseus and Hippolytus reveals much about the biographer and playwright in terms of the political, social, and intellectual condition of their respective times. This paper will examine the differences between the two genres and the way they reflect the differences between the writers.

Included in

History Commons



Faculty Mentor

B. Tutchenner David

Departmental Honors Advisor

J. W.