Incest in Greek Mythology Essay

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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
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Hermaphroditus is the child of Zeus, Aphrodite, Athene, and Poseidon, and therefore cursed with being its own lover (Sharman-Burke and Greene 82). In addition to these incestuous relationships, are relationships that Zeus has with his children. For example, Dionysus is attached to his thigh.

Among mortals lives' that were influenced by Zeus, Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, husband and wife, were the children of Zeus and Leda. Although they had different earthly fathers, the incestuous relationship between Agamemnon and Clytemnestra brought a curse upon their house for two generations. It was finally destroyed by Orestes, their youngest son, whom Justice allowed to go free.

Agamemnon was particularly cursed, although he was the victor at Troy. The reason for this curse is that Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, and Agamemnon's earthly father Atreus were in the habit of "eating" and "sacrificing" their own children to appease the gods. But the imagery created by Aeschylus of these acts of sacrifice is also that of incestuous acts and their consequences. Aeschylus writes in Agamemnon, "Look! See them sit, there on the wall, like forms in dreams, / Children butchered like lambs by their own kindred." [1219-1220] The reason that Aeschylus portrays the children as sitting is because Agamemnon was sitting at the meal in which Atreus served up the flesh of his son for

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