Essay on The Relationships Between Parents and Children in Greek and Roman Myths

Essay on The Relationships Between Parents and Children in Greek and Roman Myths

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Contrary to the present archetypes involving the relationships between parents and children, Greek and Roman myths show us that at one point in time, incest was considered socially acceptable. Many Greek and Roman myths contain twisted relationships between parents and children. These twisted relationships can be broken into three different categories: mothers and sons that have exceptionally strong bonds, parents that are threatened by their children, and the betrayal of parents or children. Greek and Roman Mythology often employs many themes that, in modern life, we consider to be taboo; one of the most widely used ideas is the distortion and dysfunction of parent and child relationships.
One idea displayed through these twisted relationships in Greek mythology is that mothers and sons that have exceptionally strong bonds. This is shown in The Creation of the Titans and the Gods in the beginning when Gaea creates Uranus. This makes him her son, yet they end up married and they have children. In today's culture, incest is frowned upon. However, in Ancient Greek society, it was perfectly acceptable. Later, Gaea asks Cronus to overpower Uranus. Cronus' relationship with his mother is very strong. Otherwise, he could not have overthrown his father.
This theme is also shown in The Labors and Death of Heracles when Antaeus' Mother transfers power through the earth to help her son in his fight against Heracles (Rosenberg 104). This transfer of power shows the strong bond that they share. The most famous example of this theme is presented in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. In this myth, Oedipus, the main character, falls in love with his mother and marries her. He actually kills his father in the process. He doesn't find out until the en...

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...alue. They value the importance of a strong relationship between mother and son. They also value the importance of understanding that something goes wrong when parents feel threatened by their children. Greeks and Romans linked betrayal with unfavorable outcomes. These ideas of twisted, distorted relationships between parents and children show up often in Greek and Roman mythology.

Works Cited
Rosenberg, Donna."Medea." World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. (1999): 204-41
Rosenberg, Donna."Pyramus and Thisbe." World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. (1999): 249-253
Rosenberg, Donna."The Creation of the Titans and the Gods." World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. (1999): 84-9
Rosenberg, Donna."The Labors and Death of Heracles." World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. (1999): 84-9

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