Thursday, September 24, 2015


Today in class something struck me, I realized that Zeus, the God of all gods is married to his sister, Hera. In Oedipus The King, Oedipus marries his mother and it was seen as a great shame in the play. Today, incest is a huge taboo and in Oedipus The King, but during the time that Oedipus The King was written the beliefs in place was to follow the Gods and the Gods were all incestuous. So why was Oedipus so dismayed? Also Apollo himself, the God who is so angry with Oedipus, is a product of incest; his father being Zeus and mother Leto and the two are cousins. The probable out come to why it was okay for the Gods to inbreed and not humans is for the simple reason that they are Gods and need to keep their godly power in a tight group (I would also like to note as a side that this, need to keep certain blood in one group, is seen in history from the Hapsburg family in Europe).  I went on line to see how much incest was in the Greek mythological Gods and was very surprised. Here is a map of genealogy.

1 comment:

Madison Cummings said...

That is a very interesting point! As we have been reading this play, I often find myself thinking about whether this series of unfortunate events would have been and should have been considered as awful as Oedipus makes it out to be in the end. First of all, it is true that the Gods often had incestuous relationships, so why would his be considered so taboo at that time? Especially since it was done unintentionally (unlike the Gods). Secondly, when he murders his own father/the king he is unaware that the man is either of those things. If Laius had been a regular man, no one would have given the murder a second thought. While I understand Oedipus’ horror once he discovers what he has done, I do not think he should have punished himself as harshly as he did. Not only was he unaware of all the mistakes he made (until it was too late) but also his fate was inevitable. I don’t believe he could have avoided any of it, as the Gods set his fate in stone. So, should Oedipus really feel guilty?