Kinship and Politics

Topics: Greek mythology, Zeus, Marriage Pages: 5 (1495 words) Published: May 21, 2013
How do these texts illustrate the relationship between kinship and politics?

In Greek Mythology, the power of right is passed by kinship in generations, and people’s belief in gods leads their life and their acts show gods’ will. In the meanwhile, politics originally indicates certain relationships are between politics and groups of individuals. Moreover, politics is always referred to methods, including the purpose and the use of power, for addressing impacts on the tendency of those individuals’ performance, as well as their engagement and activities in civic affairs. In result of that, theories of political behavior are aimed at explicating the influences that define an individual’s behaviors, opinions, and participation in civic society.

In understanding the relationship between kinship and politics, we need to have a detailed look on the ancient Greek Mythology. In this essay, I will mainly discuss about Aeschylus’s Eumenides, together with Another great literary works, Theogony, written by Hersiod. From paragraphs given on the lecture, we acquired some knowledge of ancient Greek Mythology which we can trace the origin of gods to help us understand the kinship.

In reading Aeschylus's Eumenides, I found the great progress from the revenge between the bloods to the set up of the civil court. It illustrates us the foundation of establishment of orders for Greek people’s new life by showing the fight between the old gods and the new gods’ attitudes towards the murder case of Clytaemestra, with the arguments which mainly focus on kinship and then the civilization. The central theme of this play is the interests and conflicts which were shown during the long debate and words fight between opposites, and the reconciliation of the plaintiff and the defendant. The text shows the relationship between kinship and politics by several arguments among the Furies, Apollo and Athena, who defines “kinship” in different ways.

Apollo: What about a wife who kills her husband?
Chorus Leader: That's not blood murder in the family.

Furies claims that husband and wife are not kin, which indicates the kinship is the foundation stone for the human society so that the Furies choose not to pursue after Clytaemestra who killed her husband. But Apollo rejects this view by saying that husband and wife are not kin is to “dishonor and annul the marriage bond.” Then Apollo quoted Zeus and Hera’s name to counter back because according to what I have read from Hesiod’s Theogony, Zeus and Hera is not only in a marriage relationship, but also they have blood bonds that Hera is the sister of Zeus.

What Apollo said has passed important information to us that the whole society bases mainly on blood relationship, i.e. kinship as mentioned here, but it does not only base on blood bonds, but also it is established and thus governed by the chain of social laws. He implied here that Zeus would choose to stand by their side considering of Clytaemestra's death and described the situation how Agamemnon was killed to death. Paternal rights were mentioned by Apollo, said that the father, by whom the life seed is planted, is the only true parent. Apollo here represents the male, the young, the powerful and rational while the Furies represent the opposite which is the female, the violent, the old, and the primal. Throughout the argument in Athena’s court, the meaning is clear that at that moment, the society was controlled by male, if more specifically, male gods, say, Zeus. Also It is obviously a very great and meaningful step for human in the civilization history that the old, kinship-based system is not preferable at this stage and an advanced human society system should be created in which different bonds such as bonds between husbands and wives should be recognized and honored, compared to the biological kinship.

Moreover, the Eumenides also has more significant political meanings, it again stresses the importance of male patriarchy and also...
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