Hope, Honor, and Glory
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
Psychologist Charles Snyder introduced an influential approach to hope. He defines hope as:
Within a goal-setting framework, we propose that there are two major, interrelated elements of hope. First, we hypothesize that hope is fueled by the perception of successful agency related to goals. The agency component refers to a sense of successful determination in meeting goals in the past, present, and future. Second, we hypothesize that hope is influenced by the perceived availability of successful pathways related to goals (as cited by Bloeser and Stahl, 2017).
Athletics and competition are a powerful illustration of hope. The language Snyder uses to define hope is strikingly similar to language used in and around athletic activities. Determination is crucial to an athlete’s success. They are “fueled” by… Gatorade. In soccer you score… “goals.” These are mostly bad examples, but it is clear that hope must be the driving force behind athletic success. It’s fitting, then, that Josie has chosen to turn Herakles into the modern-day ultra-man athlete "Glory."
Hope goes beyond just the titular character though. Each character in the play hopes for something unique. Glory, for redemption, Rhea for her life back, Jessie for their cousin’s happiness (the list goes on). Hope plays a vital role in athletics and grief. Both of these are seen within the play.
Now to the question I was specifically asked to meditate on in this post:
In what ways is the relationship between Rhea and Glory driven by hope? What are they both hopeful for? How might their actions in the play support or work against their hopes?
Not to over generalize… but here is a generalization. I think, in a sense, all relationships are driven by hope. Particularly parent child relationships. Glory and Rhea are certainly no exception. Hope is a means of overcoming ordinary experience and the lives of Glory and Rhea are by no means ordinary. Throughout the play, we see Rhea giving Glory a means to hope for redemption. Unfortunately, she doesn’t always do this perfectly. He views his athletic competition as a trial he must go through, a sort of penance. But the real hope for redemption comes later. Particularly in the final scene of the play, where Glory wakes up from another nightmare where he kills his wife and child, we see how Glory and Rhea’s relationship being driven by hope. In this scene, we see Rhea give Glory the hope of redemption. In a moment where he feels irredeemable, she abandons her pride and lifts Glory up. His early hope for redemption lacks agency. He goes to compete because he thinks he has to. At the end of the play, there is a certain hope that he can take his hope into his own hands.
I would also like to address my biggest question with the play thus far which regards how similar Glory and Rhea are to their original Greek/Roman counterparts. In the original play, Herakles is driven to kill his family by Hera herself. In Josie’s rendition, this is left out in favor of focusing more on Rhea’s resentment for Glory. I’m still unsure what exactly to make of this, but I think this omission (or at least ambiguity) is somewhat crucial to the modernizing of this play. The humanizing of the characters in Euripides tragedy bring it closer to today.
Bloeser, Claudia and Stahl, Titus, "Hope", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2017/entries/hope/>.