One obvious reason is to know how ancient European civilizations functioned. A less obvious reason is the influence the classics have on our modern life. In his play Oedipus the King (Sophocles ‘The Oedipus Trilogy. Waxkeep Publishing. Retrieved from Amazon Com.), Sophocles examines parricide and incest, taboo practices that are still enforced and punishable today.
Daly and Wilson (Homicide 115, https://books.google.co.nz/books?isbn=0202366448) argue the hostility between fathers and sons stem from the son’s subconscious awareness that the sexual relationship between his parents could result in another sibling who would deprive the child of his mother’s care. This fear could be a survival mechanism rather than a nascent sexual desire for the mother and wish to eliminate the father.
Sophocles’ play Oedipus explores the concept of sexual desire for the mother and the wish to eliminate the father. When Laius learns that his fate is to be murdered by his son, he pins the baby’s ankles together and abandons him on a mountain to die. Fate intervenes and Oedipus survives, albeit with a deformity caused by the injury Laius inflicted on him. This deformity, ironically, identifies Oedipus as Laius’s murderer and son and also the incestuous husband of his mother, Jocasta. The crime is seemingly so unacceptable that Oedipus blinds himself and Jocasta commits suicide.
Ancient Egyptians lived under a Pharaoh who had absolute power but the Greeks established a democracy that ensured protection to all citizens. (Ancient Greece
Reading the Classics shows how Western taboos evolved. Parricide is still abhorred and severely punished today. For example in the US, two brothers, aged twelve and thirteen, could face mandatory life sentences for parricide despite their age. (Montaldo, C. Alex and Derek King http://crime.about.com/od/murder/a/alexandderekking.htm)
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