Compare and contrast the theme of "fathers and sons" as depicted in the Bible, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid.

Authors Avatar

Classics in World Lit.

Lesson #1

1/ Compare and contrast the theme of “fathers and sons” as depicted in the Bible, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid.

        The theme of “fathers and sons” is depicted in similar forms between these three readings. In all of these works we see that there is a great love, loyalty and admiration between all of our fathers and their sons.  In The Book of Joseph from the Bible we see that Jacob, Joseph’s father has come to favor him and his younger brother Benjamin more so than the other eleven children. This favoritism causes great jealousy and animosity amongst the other brothers and they plot to get rid of Joseph, which they do by selling him to the Ishmaelites.  The brothers return home with a bloodied coat of Josephs, leading their father Jacob to believe that his son has died a horrible death.  This tragedy causes great grief for Jacob who becomes even more overprotective of his son Benjamin.  What I find hard to understand is why Joseph never had the urge to escape his captors or even in all of his travels prophesizing he was never compelled to return home to relieve his father’s heartbreak in addition to take vengeance on his brothers.  I know that in the end everything works out and he forgives as well as takes care of his brothers and family but I think I would have had to make my way back home to avenge myself.  

         In “The Odyssey” we see Odysseus’ son Telemachus who never really knew his father but knew of his father. For almost his entire life Telemachus has only heard great stories of his father, by those that admired Odysseus and also those that wish him dead (the suitors).  This can present a warped view of a person that becomes exaggerated and almost Godly in itself. Telemachus wants so badly to be a great warrior and a great man like that of his father but more than anything I think he wishes just to see him again and to have him around as a father figure as opposed to all the self serving suitors that have invaded his home in an attempt to win his mother.  On Odysseus’s journey his only hope is to live to see his wife and son again, this is a driving force for him even when on Calypsos Island this is all he can think about. Once Telemachus and his father are reunited they simply hold each other and weep.  The night before the attack on the suitors Odysseus is not worried about his well being but concerned for the well being of his grown son, who he believes may not be able to take on such an attack and survive.  Like any good father he is protective and loving.  Even Poseidon goes to great lengths to take revenge on Odysseus for the harm done to his Cyclops son Polyphemus.

Join now!

         In “The Aenied” the same bond between father and son holds true. When Aeneas first heads out on his journey his father, Anchises, and his son is with him. During the course of their travels from Troy Anchises dies and eventually guides his son on part of his journey through the Dis or underworld.  Aeneas has a great love and respect for his father and on the anniversary of his death there is a great ceremony that is held.  A dedication to his father consists of eight days of sacrificial offerings and on the ninth day competitive games in memory. ...

This is a preview of the whole essay