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The Importance Of Family For Ancient Greeks

966 words - 4 pages

Family is extremely important to Greeks and is based on social structure (Greece - Cultural Studies). The ancient Greeks believed in many gods and each of the gods signified a certain characteristic in life. Zeus being the main God (Galens and Spampinato). Greek families are very loving and caring for each other. Although, once one member of the family does something dishonorable it puts the whole family to shame. “Greece has the highest tradition-nearly three thousand years of recorded family life and values (Janus).” The most important value of the Greeks is loyalty. Greeks do not really talk about family values, one will either live by them or they will not. On the other hand, the penalty for whether you live by these values or not depends on the community. Greeks will always be there for their own through the good times and through the bad. Family is based on tradition which happens throughout history. The Greek family is influenced from the Byzantine traditions (Michopoulou). Family will always be a critical factor to the Greeks.
Antigone is a Greek tragedy that expresses strong family values, focusing mainly on loyalty. She appeals to the important struggle between customary or family responsibilities (Patterson 1). Antigone is the daughter of Jocasta and Oedipus and also the niece of Creon. Antigone and Creon are both tragic characters who induce shame and meet tragic ends. Creon was named ruler after Antigone’s father fell from power. So Creon raised Oedipus’ children and was only supposed to rule Thebes only until Polyneices and Eteocles could run Thebes together, but after both of their deaths Creon was announced King of Thebes (Galens and Spampinato). Antigone shows her loyalty when Creon will not allow anyone to bury her brother Polyneices, if someone as to even try, they would be killed. Greek customs command that the women of the family do the burying rituals, which is what she was trying to do. When Creon stated that the body be left to rot, Antigone felt that burying her brother would be doing what the “unwritten laws” of Zeus stated. Creon disobeying the law brings catastrophe on Thebes, he is just outright defying the gods (Galens and Spampinato). Everything Antigone titles to honor and wish is conflicting to what Creon honors and wishes: Antigone is someone who defies him, her king and guardian; someone who sets responsibilities to her true family overhead municipal requirements. This shows more clearly when we see that Creon, too, has made not one choice (the choice not to punish anyone who buries Polyneices) but two choices, another being the choice about how his own niece would have to be killed (Johnston 182). Creon refusing to listen and cooperate leads to the loss of all his valuables, meaning power. He becomes a miserable, broke man. Antigone felt that she just...

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