Incest in Greek Mythology

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Incest in Greek Mythology

Incest in Greek mythology was a common occurrence. Part of the reason is that the gods themselves set the example, and since everything that happened in society was the result of the passion of the gods, this, of course, gave the characters in the Greek plays the opportunity to also lust after their children and relatives. While the story of Oedipus the King is the delineating play on the subject, Greek mythology is full of incestuous relationships.

The gods who inspired the love and hate relationships among families include Hermes, who used his magical use of language to lure the feelings of his brother Apollo away from jealousy to love. Hermes' reward was divination, and he became the god who protected travelers, symbolized by the crossroads-or the choices made. Sarah Harrell states that Hermes' crossroads includes the crossroads to sexuality, typified by the love the brothers developed for one another. Although this love is most often viewed as familial and positive, Harrell invokes the retelling of Homer's Hymn to Hermes in which the threats of domination can be viewed in terms of sexual innuendo (Harrell 309). In fact, Harrell compares the actions of Apollo and Hermes to those of Zeus and his brother Poseidon, the rulers-and progenitors-of the Earth. Therefore, these brotherly ties, based on the loving relationships between brothers, begin with Zeus and Poseidon, thus extending the same type of familiarity to all brothers of the world.

As further proof of incest and Zeus's contribution to the image in Greek mythology is the story of Chiron, who was born of a union between Zeus and Ixion, the son of Ares (Sharman-Burke and Greene 33). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera ...

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