For the Love of Family

I’m curious about the back-story of the incestuous daughter: how she got to be incestuous and evil and how long the affair took place. Although the text is more of an example than an actual drama, I would like to know the context behind the daughter’s behavior. Did the father start his daughter with this behavior or did the fiends make the daughter approach her father?

Today we’d view the familial relationship of the daughter and her parents and look at things from a psychological view rather than a religious view. Instead of viewing the daughter’s sins, a psychological view would assess her childhood to pin point the origin of her flaw and unruly behavior. Based on the context she did not value family, which is illustrated in the murder of her parents and children, psychologically a situation from the past would be the source of the daughter’s behavior or attitude towards family. Comparatively, it can be argued that the fiends control over her is just that powerful to turn the daughter against her loved ones and children.

A curious moment is the poem is the daughter’s contrition. What was the cause of the heartbreak? Did finally see her misdeed from a human perspective or was it the bishops hesitance to properly address her confession unbearable? Although the poem offers a lesson its incompleteness leaves me guessing.

2 thoughts on “For the Love of Family

  1. I agree about the feeling on it being incomplete. But I would attribute this reaction that we both had to be viewing the poem from a contemporary perspective. Based on our current view of the situation, as you point out, the situation would necessitate extensive psychological assessment. I think reception to the poem at the time would have viewed the poem as fulfilling rather than incomplete because it is relying on confession so heavily, that is the urgency of admitting our sins. What makes the poem even more shocking from a modern perspective, is the father’s lack of blame in the situation. The father who raised his daughter then engaged in this activity, and once he repents is forgiven. As we pointed out in class, it is his immediate repentance that earns him the title of “a good man.”

  2. You make good points, Tamar–I want to hear more about what this radically alternate perspective reflected by the poem might suggest. What does it mean to be “a good man”? What does it mean to be a victim of another’s sin? And so on.

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