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Examining Family Relationships in Literature: Examining Antigone, The Odyssey, and The Iliad

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The human relationship can be interpreted as interpersonal or intimate; stemming from these two classifications are many of the reasons for characteristic development within human nature. By studying literary works we can glimpse into human behavior and learn what actually causes a person’s actions and downfalls. Many of these works have shown the effects a dominant and inferior relationship may cause, ranging from self-independence to parental influence. We’ve seen the defiance of rulers, the mimicking actions of father and son, the comparison of siblings, and the rebellion of a son.
Within the play Antigone, we see a relationship that tests the strength of ones personal convictions. We quickly learn that the dominant figure is a catalyst to her flawed characteristics. During this time, the cultural bias insinuated that women were the weaker sex and they were immediately given the title of inferior within any relationship. Even though Antigone herself is viewed as the inferior partner in the relationship, she demonstrates how the inferior does not always submit to the dominant character. Antigone’s defiance of Creon’s ordered decree is the actual evidence of an inferior partner having the ability to oppose the superior. “I will bury him myself. And even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory. I will lie with the one I love and loved by him – an outrage sacred to the gods! I have longer to please the dead than please the living here: in the kingdom down below I’ll lie forever. Do as you like, dishonor the laws the gods hold in honor.” (pg 655) In doing so Antigone and Creon’s relationship eventually causes their own characteristics to become fatal flaws.
The relationship between parent and child has always...


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.... This bond is one of guidance and supremacy depleted by the means of self perseveration.
Even though the relationships differ from story to story, there is a dominant and inferior relationship that is present within each. Many would suggest being the dominant character would hold its benefits; however within each story the dominant suffers some kind of loss as a result of their behavior or actions. Since emotions begin to play a large part in decision making, the contradictions of behaviors between the two tend to push the relationship to a breaking point causing a downfall for one of the characters. As we continue to study the effects of relationships within these literary works we are given the opportunity to learn the precursors of character flaw so we may avoid such decisions ourselves, thus eliminating the chance of history repeating itself.



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