Family Drama: From Oedipus to Ozu

Krishnan Venkatesh + Aparna Ravilochan

Family is an inexhaustible source of conflict for dramatists, novelists, and filmmakers—perhaps more inexhaustible than war. From Greek dramatists Aeschylus and Sophocles to Confucius, Vyasa, and Ozu, family is a problem, a question, and a source of both self-destruction and self-actualization. In this episode, Santa Fe host Krishnan Venkatesh is joined by Santa Fe tutor Aparna Ravilochan for a journey deep into the heart of Thebes—where King Laius has died at the hands of his own son Oedipus, and Oedipus has unwittingly married his mother Jocasta—and a subtler journey into the world of famed Japanese filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu, where a happily domiciled father and daughter, Somiya and Noriko, will be ripped apart by the norms and expectations of tradition. This episode searches for insights into the nature of family, the tension between the safety and anxiety that family creates, and the rich and multiple ways that different artists, works, cultures, and mediums express these insights.

In this Episode

  • Aparna Ravilochan
    Guest Aparna Ravilochan

    Aparna Ravilochan (SF12) is a tutor at St. John’s College. This semester, she is reading Aquinas in sophomore seminar, teaching Ptolemy in freshman mathematics, and studying logic in sophomore language.

  • Krishnan Venkatesh
    Host Krishnan Venkatesh

    Krishnan Venkatesh is a tutor at St. John’s College. This semester, he is reading Austen in junior seminar, translating Molière in junior language, and leading a Chinese tutorial in the Graduate Institute.

Featured Release

Socrates says that the intellectual practice of philosophy is a practice for dying. But what if the body is the vessel that can best prepare us for the end of life? In this episode, martial artists (and Santa Fe tutors) Krishnan Venkatesh and Claudia Hauer explore the problem of the philosophical separation of mind and body through the lens of two essayists—the 13th-century Japanese author Dogen and the 16th-century French essayist Montaigne.

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Continuing the Conversation was funded through the philanthropy of donors to St. John’s College. If you’d like to give to the college’s Annual Fund, your gift will go to support the kinds of inquiry and conversation that comes to life at St. John’s College. It also frees up money for creative projects like this one, which brings great conversation and great books into homes across the world.


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