Blood Bonds, Antigone, and The Eumenides Essay

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Blood Bonds, Antigone, and The Eumenides

Every human on this earth has a bond to another. These bonds, as well as their significance, differ between people. This paper will focus on the bonds of marriage and blood, and their role in the plays Antigone and The Eumenides. How do they relate to each other? Is one more important than the other? How does the divine and mortal world interpret these? Through a review of the two plays and a comparison of their presentation of the bonds of blood and marriage, this paper will answer these questions. Upon initial examination, the bond of blood seems to be the prevailing one in Antigone, but upon closer examination, it is obvious that the bond of marriage plays a strong role as well.
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(Sophocles, 506-512) Antigone first expresses her sense of duty to her siblings in lines 81 to 89:

"Be as you choose to be; but for myself
I myself will bury him. It will be good
To die, so doing. I shall lie by his side,
Loving him as he loved me; I shall be a criminal-but a religious one."

This conviction is tested indirectly many times throughout the play, but most strongly in a confrontation with Creon, where she maintains and restates her original beliefs. (Sophocles, 509-515) This is especially noteworthy considering the times in which she lived. Her place is in the household, or oikos, not to look for glory or bravery, or challenge authoritative figures. The lines are not as clearly drawn in The Eumenides. The divine and mortal worlds have different opinions about the sanctity of blood and marriage bonds. The issue here is one of justice, as it is in Antigone, but in a different respect. In addition, a complicated family history leads up to the conflict. During the Trojan War, King Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter. When he returned, his wife, Clytaemestra, in revenge for his crime murdered him. Many years later, their son, Orestes, murdered Clytaemestra (who was not punished) in revenge for his father's death. (Aeschylus, 454-464) Questions arise, such as: Is the crime of Orestes more severe than that of Clytaemestra? Should Orestes be
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