Oedipus and Antigone

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Relationships are known to be about love and trust, but it seems to be a very big problem in the past. In the past for example in the stories I will be using are not just complicated between one or two people it is conflict that has happened between an entire family. When something is conflicted that means that there is a huge argument between one or even many people because they disagree with something. In my opinion it almost seems like the relationships that are complicated in these stories fall like a domino effect, one relationship after another gets destroyed and ends up falling.

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I will be using the stories of Oedipus and Antigone to discuss and figure out why the relationships back then were so complicated and conflicted. The first story that I will be starting with is Oedipus, he had an extremely complicated relationship with his entire family, but it does not only affect him it also affects his children as well. When discussing about these readings they will be showing just how complicated the human relationships that are given in these stories are such as what happened between a father and son, husband and wife, brother and brother, and niece and uncle.

The relationship that happens between a father and son are supposed to be one of the most difficult and unbreakable bond, and yes everyone understands there can be a lot arguing but that is absolutely normal, but they are not meant to kill each other which is exactly what happened in the story of Oedipus against his father. In the story “Oedipus the King” it is told that there is a prophecy about Oedipus and what will become of him when he became a grown up. The prophecy is that he will kill his father, but he will then marry his mother. I have learned that what makes Oedipus’s relationship between him and his father is leaning more towards the confusion of the story. It is said, “In the course of his wanderings he met and killed Laius, believing that the king and his followers were a band of robbers, and thus unwittingly fulfilled the prophecy (Oedipus, World Book, Inc., Chicago, Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, pg. 1).” What makes it so confusing for Oedipus is that he thought he had escaped the prophecy but turned out in fact he did not. The proven fact is because when Oedipus learned of the prophecy, he left home not knowing that his father then was not his biological father and, on his journey, he in fact did end up killing his real father.

Siblings are supposed to have this unbreakable bond with each other and they are supposed to protect one another from any harm that comes to one another, but when it comes to the both of Antigone’s brothers this was not the case. These brothers had some really bad conflict against each other so in this case it was not a brotherly bond it turned out to be more like they were at war with each other. It is said, “Antigone: No, for it was his brother, not some slave, who died. Kreon: Died trying to sack this land, the other in defense (The Norton Anthology World literature, Volume A, Antigone, pg.737)”. Basically, what this means is that they had a feud and began to fight a war in order to figure out and see who was going to become the next ruler of the land and kingdom. Then when this happened this meant that it literally came to the point where they fought and ended up killing each other. By this point them going to war really did not have a point because the fact is neither one became the next ruler. Even with everything that happened it ended up being Kreon their uncle that became the next ruler over the kingdom and the land. This is what I have discovered to be the conflict that happened between these two brothers that were once close to one another.

The relationship of a husband and wife is supposed to be loving, caring, and unconditionally unbreakable. But in this case this relationship at first started out loving and caring, they even had three children, but by the end of this story it turned into a complete tragedy. Many people and even including myself understand that a husband and wife definitely will go head to head with each other and make the deep relationship that they have a little conflicted because not all families are perfect, and this family was nowhere even near to being perfect. The conflict I discovered to be between the husband and wife, which in this case would be Oedipus and Jocasta, but it turns out that Jocasta was not only his wife and mother of three children, but she also turned out to be his mother. After this was discovered by both Oedipus and Jocasta is all went down hill in a bad way from there. It is said by the end of the story that, “The messenger announces the death of Jocasta, who has hung herself, and proceeds to explain that Oedipus, taking the golden brooches from his mother’s clothing, gouged out his eyes. Oedipus now blind appears. He asks Creon to exile him and to take good care of his daughters (Sophocles, written by Claire Cornillon and Translated by Soline de Dorlodot, Book Analysis on Oedipus the King, pg.7).”

In the generation we have today the relationship between a niece and an uncle is supposed to be something special. Uncles are supposed to spoil their nieces and pump them up full of sugar and send them back home to their parents, but this niece and uncle had a completely different relation between now and in the past. The bond between a niece and uncle in the past seems to be really crucial like in hatred kind of way, to where as in the twenty first century it is loving and caring way. In the story of Antigone her uncle had basically sent his niece away and she was put inside of a cave to die because she disagreed with his beliefs and cared for the way her brother was treated when he died in the battle between their other brother. Antigone’s uncle Kreon was asked by his brother in law and nephew to watch out for his daughter but instead it seems like he did the complete opposite. Antigone killed herself by hanging in a cave after she was sent away by her uncle only because she decided she did not want her brother to be left out in the open to be eaten by wolves. It is understandable that her uncle was upset because her two brothers did get into a war over who would rule the kingdom next, now that their father was dead by this time.

Families are supposed to be something special and the most important thing in each and every person’s lives. Come to find out this was definitely not the case back then during the time when Oedipus was alive. Back then in this time of period there was way too much drama involved and thinking on this topic now the conflict started at the very beginning with one specific person and that was Oedipus. The first relation that was torn apart was between Oedipus and his father. Oedipus was just a tiny baby and did not even know there was a prophecy against him but grew up and learned about this prophecy. When he found out about it, he left thinking it was going to be the best thing for him and his family but that turned out to be completely wrong. On his journey away, he ran into a man with some men thinking it was a robber, but it turned out to be the king and later on Oedipus got married to a women which then at this point the prophecy had been completed. The prophecy was that Oedipus would kill his father and then turn around and marry his own mother.

This not only made the relationship between a father and son complicated but it also made the relationship between a husband and wife very conflicted because they are not only husband and wife but also mother and son. And this was just only the beginning of the conflicted family drama. The next relationship that was ruined was between two brothers and they fought against who would be the next ruler but they both lucked out and ended up killing each other. Then in the story of Antigone, she disobeys her uncle which forms a wedge between them both then she ends up killing herself by hanging. In my opinion I do not think I would be able to live in the past because it would be extremely hard to live in a place where it seemed like almost everyone hated each other, or they loved each other but it would then turn into a completely disaster.  

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Oedipus and Antigone. (2021, Jun 11). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/oedipus-and-antigone/