The Mother Figure in Greek Tragedy Comparison Essay by Geebs

The Mother Figure in Greek Tragedy
This paper compares the mother figure in two great Greek tragedies, Sophocles's "Oedipus the King" and Euripides' "The Bacchae".
# 119638 | 1,168 words | 1 source | MLA | 2009 | CA
Published on May 13, 2010 in Literature (Greek and Roman) , English (Comparison)

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The paper notes the significance of the mother figure motif among Greek tragedies and highlights the similarities between the two mothers, Jocasta and Agave in Sophocles's "Oedipus the King" and Euripides' "The Bacchae" respectively. The paper identifies the bond of love between mother and child, the theme of blindness these characters emphasize, and their atypical motherly conduct by physically making their children suffer as a result of the curse of the gods.

From the Paper:

"The strong connection between mother and her children can be seen very clearly in both Jocasta and Agave. Both women exhibit behaviour which shows how their maternal instinct is to protect their offspring, even if that means their own self-preservation is at stake, as is the case with Jocasta. They see neglecting to save their child from harm as the utmost offence and both seek demise upon realizing that they have failed their offspring. We see that, before divine intervention damaged their relationship, these mothers must have cared for their sons. When Agave mourns over the body of Pentheus, she is in disbelief that "hands of [her's], which loved him so" could ever hurt him, and she describes with longing his childhood where "he used to run to [her], seeking assurance of his mother's love" (Bacchae, lines 1661-1669). Though Jocasta arguably acted in her own self-interests by having baby Oedipus sent away and left to die, she neglected to ensure his execution because of insuppressible motherly instincts, thereby giving him the chance he needed to survive."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Course Pack: Sophocles's Oedipus the King and Euripides' The Baccae

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

The Mother Figure in Greek Tragedy (2010, May 13) Retrieved February 06, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Mother Figure in Greek Tragedy" 13 May 2010. Web. 06 February. 2023. <>