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The Importance of Fatherhood Fatherhood is important and is often taken for granted and not treated with the respect it deserves. In the plays Fences and Oedipus the King, Troy and Oedipus are affected by the lack of fatherhood. In Troy’s case, he fails to be a supportive father to his son, Cory, ultimately distancing himself from his family. As for Oedipus, he is cursed by the gods before his birth, due to his father, Laius, raping and kidnapping a young boy (Weineck).
Although the situations of each play are different the need for fathers is very similar.
This topic may not seem of much importance but fatherhood can truly affect a child or the actual father. Both of these plays seem to be affected by the past which leads to the fathers putting their problems on the shoulders of their child. Fathers play an important role in a child’s life. Not only are they seen as their rock, but also as their protection.
This is especially important in a boy’s childhood. This is shown by the relationship of Troy and Cory. Although, Troy is always around in Cory’s youth, he never gives any support for what Cory does.
This is proved when Cory has a chance to talk to a college recruiter about football, but Troy claims he has no future in sports and just needs to give it up and go get a job and start making money (Roberts 1046). This incident, along with other questionable actions, lead to the resentment of Troy, not only by Cory, but by the entire family.
The other questionable action by Troy was him cheating on his wife with another woman. This event is what totally crushed his relationship with his family, whom now refused to give him any respect.
With no respect for Troy, Cory one day makes a comment towards his father, which does not sit well with Troy. This comment soon turns into an argument which, leads to Cory picking up a bat and threatening Troy. Troy then takes the bat from Cory’s hands and knocks him down (Weales). At this point Troy can show his dominance towards Cory but instead tells him to leave (Roberts 1071). This not only shatters the relationship between Troy and Cory but it shows the carelessness of Troy towards his son.
Throughout the rest of the play, when Cory is present, the resentment of Troy is shown. Cory even contemplates not attending Troy’s funeral because he was tired of living in the shadow of his father (Roberts 1074). The relationship of a father to his son is essential to not only the son’s maturation process, but also to the father and his livelihood. Troy and Cory make good examples for this, because after Cory left Troy was never the same and in the same light it can be said the Cory learned from his father. He learned how to not be like his father.
Before Oedipus the King, we know that King Laius of Thebes commits a crime in which he is punished for raping and kidnapping a child from a different kingdom. For this crime Laius is cursed by the god, Apollo. The curse stated that Laius’s “first born son would murder his father then marry his mother”. Instead of Laius abstaining from marriage or sex to prevent this curse from occurring, he marries and has a son, Oedipus (Weineck). This stupidity of Laius begins the failure of his fatherhood. Laius has not only compromised his life but he has created a terrible situation for Oedipus when he is grown.
This father and son relationship is not direct but the actions and carelessness of Laius ultimately affect Oedipus, which makes his life literally a living hell. Like in Fences Laius is careless about his son, like Troy. Although Oedipus is his father’s murderer, it is unknown if Oedipus intentionally killed Laius. It is actually said that he was defending himself, so it is hard to put any fault on the lack relationship with Laius (Roberts 786). This lack of relationship also can be said to have led to the downfall of Oedipus.
This is because when Oedipus find that he has murdered his father and married his mother he exiles himself. It can be said that if Laius had not impregnated Jocasta, or had he killed Oedipus as an infant, this terrible fate would never had happened. Laius could have also raised Oedipus and created a positive relationship between the two which could have prevented this situation. This relationship between Laius and Oedipus was flawed from before the birth of Oedipus resulting in the horrific fate that Oedipus experienced.
This flawed relationship can be argued to have had no chance but it can be seen that at the end of the play Oedipus is affected by the knowing of murdering his father. The difference in Oedipus’s relationship with his father compared to normal father/son relationships was that he never really knew he had a relationship with his father, but all along it was his faulty relationship with Laius that cursed Oedipus in the first place. Although these two plays are very different in time periods, the basic buildup of each play is very similar. Father’s and son’s is a way these two plays connected very well.
Laius and Troy perform a very careless fatherhood whereas Oedipus and Cory are helpless and cannot defy what their fathers do or have done. Cory, out of respect for his father, cannot do the thing he wanted to do such as, football, and this resulted in the broken relationship between Cory and Troy. This is comparable to Oedipus, in a way, because he was unable to defy the curse of the gods on his father which also leads to a broken relationship with Laius. These plays at first glance have nothing in common but when broken down they truly have a similarity in the importance of a father.
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