The issue regarding which is more important, love and family ties or fame and political power are issues that are always present in every generation. Well, which is really more important that we should devote our lives in search for the more important thing? Is blood really thicker than water? It is a subjective topic in which persons have different experiences and stand about the subject matter. This paper aims to answer this question by referring to three different epic plays: Oedipus the King and Antigone by Sophocles, and Aeneid by Virgil. It is also important to look at the values and actions displayed by the characters of the stories and to analyze whether they are still applicable in our contemporary time.
In the story of Antigone, Haemon must choose between her love for Antigone and the fame and political power that await him if he obeys his father. Now Haemon is facing a dilemma because of the conflict between his love and his father. The same choice goes for Antigone for she wants to give her brother the honor of being buried in the right way. However, doing so would mean that she must disobey King Creon’s order. Disobeying the king does not only take the opportunity to be the princess by marrying the king’s son, Haemon, but her own life as well. But Antigone and Haemon decided to follow their hearts. In the end, Antigone killed herself. Knowing that his love is death, Haemon also decided to end his life.
Thus, their value for their love ones cost them their own lives. However, they still gain the respect and sympathy of the people of Thebes. It can be said that the actions of Antigone and Haemon are not applicable in our present time. Although there are several movies that portray the same idea, this rarely happen in reality. It is a very rare case in which lovers decided to end their lives since it is impossible for them to be together. They can be considered as martyrs rather than heroes because of the act.
Antigone also displays the kind of courage and determination that is greatly needed in our society today. Although she is a woman, she defies the odds and even the king for what she believes is right. Adding to the fact that she lives in the period when woman are considered inferior to man. This kind of courage is really needed by the present generation. Not only woman but men as well that have the courage to stand up and are willing to sacrifice their own lives in order to make a change.
Today, although woman are accepted by our society and are ‘said’ to be equal to men, there are still some times that they are afraid to speak out and fight for their rights. Also both men and women are sometimes afraid to question some of the things that they find unjust in the society. They are afraid to face the consequences and are unwilling to make a change to improve social order. This characteristic is really needed in our society today, the courage to fight for what is right even if the whole society is against us. If only there are those like Antigone that are willing to give it all in order to make a change, I’m sure that our society will be a better place to live.
On the other hand, King Creon cannot consider himself victorious. His persistence and determination to exercise his power over the people of Thebes had a considerably great cost. Not only had he lost the sympathy of the people of Thebes and the approval of the gods but the life of his son and wife as well. His authority blinded him and the result is loosing the persons that he values the most. If our present leaders will demonstrate the same reason and behavior like that of King Creon, the people will surely revolt and take their powers and authority away and give it to someone more deserving and just. The people will surely not tolerate such actions.
In the Aeneid, Dido falls in love with Aeneas. They live together that makes Dido thinks that they are really husbands and wives. However, due to Aeneas vision of building a great city, he left Dido. Thus, Dido killed herself using Aeneas own sword. This action by Dido can also be considered as inappropriate in our time. Having that wealth and power is what everyone wants and throwing it all away together with your life is a very foolish thing to do. The same thing also goes for Aeneas, staying beside Dido ensures that a good future awaits him.
No one would dare to exchange a wealthy living to a future that is unknown especially putting his or her own life on the line. But Aeneas is in search of greater glory and power. He pursues his desire to build a strong city. Indeed, he was able to build a great city and fulfill his destiny. He was a successful warrior, leader and founder and was able to fulfill a great vision. Still, things had not been easy for him. He also lost some of his love ones including his beloved wife and father.
On the story of Oedipus, Oedipus chooses love over power. Although his known father Polybus is the King of Corinth, Oedipus decided to ran away from Corinth, sacrificing his title as the prince and the opportunity to be the future king. The fear of killing his father and marrying his mother had been the basis of his actions. In order to protect the people that he loves and to thwart the destiny that had been foretold about him, Oedipus lost everything that can be considered of great value, the easy and good life that he has in Corinth. In the end, he blinded himself and left Thebes without anything because of the words that he had given and as a punishment for all that he had done. T
oday, such punishment is not applicable and no one will also have the courage to do such thing. There are so many ways in which you can pay the wrong things that you had done and doing something like what Oedipus did is something unimaginable. Death would be more acceptable than to suffer in the same way like Oedipus suffers.
In the case of Queen Jocasta and King Creon, no one would abandon his or her child because of a prophecy. Abandoning a child at an early age is a very terrible thing to do. Yes there are times that we consult things like tarot reading, fortune telling an the likes in search for the answers to our questions about the future, but these visions are never considered as the primary basis of making decisions especially when life is involve.
The respect given by the characters to the members of their family is also needed in the contemporary time. Today, youths are said to be losing respect especially to their parents whom they owe everything. Respect is a very important component of building a strong family ties. Also, respect for the authorities is needed in building a strong nation. Conflicts and wars arise because of the lost of respect to those who have the authority and to the right of every individual to live a peaceful life.
In the three stories, those who value their family and love ones so much ended up in misfortune. The same thing goes for those who wanted to protect and achieve power. Thus, to search for love and for power both have negative consequences. To pursue love means to put your own life in the line and to face several hardships, to pursue power means to endanger the lives of the persons that you love and be left alone.
Whether to choose love and family over fame and political power is really a big decision. You cannot have the best of both worlds. To pursue love means to let go of powers and fame and vise versa. Also we cannot really determine which is important, whether to choose love and family ties over fame and power depends upon the situation.
What is important is that we do not only consider our own benefit in making the right decision. Also the stories show that to pursue love and power is not wrong, however living your life to attain just one of them is sure to cost you a lot. In making a decision we should both consider the heart and as well as the mind in order to come up with the right decision.
GradeSaver LLC,. (2007). The Aeneid. Retrieved December 8, 2007 from
GradeSaver LLC,. (2007). Oedipus the King. Retrieved December 8, 2007 from
GradeSaver LLC,. (2007). Antigone. Retrieved December 8, 2007 from