Family Matters

In Sophocles’ play “Antigone”, loyalty within a family is a very prominent force between the main characters, and it shows how the bonds between family members can be stronger than anything. Sigmund Freud had similar views on loyalty within the family in Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, but perverts the ideas seen in “Antigone”. Freud sees a lot of familial ties as a person’s id, and his/her innate sexual attraction to family members of the opposite sex.

When facing a decision, it is important to do what is right, no matter the consequences. Antigone is a strong female character, and knows that she must do what is right by the gods, and by her family. When her brother Polynices is denied a proper burial, Antigone “gives up everything to put right something she believes is wrong,” (Sophocles xvi). She knows she will be killed if she is found going against city’s ordinance, but she does not care, and only wants to give her brother the burial the gods say he deserves (5).
Many times, a tough decision can make choosing impossible, and the right choice is not always the rational one. Ismene is torn between deciding to help Antigone, and risk death going against the state, or to follow the law and turn her back on her family (Sophocles 5). In the painting, the dog (Ismene) has to choose who to side with, “divided in its loyalty to the shivering mother [Antigone and Polynices] and the man who is deserting her [the tyranny],” (Millais). In the end, Ismene does not help Antigone, but confesses to helping her when she is going to be put to death, because she does not want to go on living without her sister (26).
A depiction of the bond between father and son, and how it can be stronger than anything. “I am yours, Father. You set me straight,/Give me good advice, and I will follow it./No marriage will weigh more with me,/Than your good opinion” (Sophocles 30). Creon has decided to kill Antigone, Haemon’s fiancé, yet Haemon will always stay loyal to his father, because he is the one who raised him and given him advice throughout his life.
Freud relates a lot of the familial ties back to the id and a person’s sexual desire for his/her parents, possibly because of his upbringing. Freud was raised in a time where sexual repression was high, and he believed that any sort of non-traditional sexual intercourse was considered a perversion, and that any form of restricted sexual intercourse would cause neurosis (Sigmund Freud - Full Biography). With these views, Freud tried to analyze people’s psyche, but could have been restricted in his own views because of his own sexual repression.
A military hospital, like the one Freud’s subject went to in her dream. Freud analyzed the dream of a woman going to a military hospital and looking for a “Chief Medical Officer” to volunteer for “love service” at the hospital (Freud 168). Freud claims that the dream is this woman’s way of directing her libido to one of her sons, because he was engaged and on active service (176). Freud is looking very deep into the meaning of the dream, and taking what he believes to be an accurate depiction, but may be very off-base with his accusation.
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