If the “bad habits” of one generation aren’t corrected, theywill be passed on to the generations that follow. That can result in generations of drugabusers, spouse abusers, or just rude people. One example of this interpretation might be if afather is a drug abuser, the children will learn from him, and use drugs also. Anotherexample is if the father is abusive, the children will think that is how problems are solved.
They, in turn, will be abusive to their families, and will start a vicious cycle for generations tocome. These examples definitely show how this biblical quote may be interpreted literally. “The sins of the father visit upon the children” has a deeper meaning than thatdescribed above. For example, “father” could be changed to “parent,” and these “parents”could mean “generations” that precede the children. A situation that would represent thatwould be war or pollution.
A second example which illustrates how this quote may beinterpreted on a more global level is preceding generations could affect the children bymeans of racial discrimination that has been passed down from long ago. This may havestarted with slavery and segregation. Then, as generations follow, racial discrimination ispassed. All of these situations prove that one quote may have many different meanings.
A third way to interpret this biblical quote is to change the word “sins” to a moregeneral or positive term such as “behaviors”, “expectations”, “experiences”, or even “gooddeeds”. By making such a substitution, the quote takes on a new meaning. This makes thebiblical quote good or bad depending on the “behaviors”. For example, the father maybehave in a polite way, which would teach the children behaviors that make many friends, getjob offers, and basically get the most out of life.
On the other hand, the fathers behaviorscould be rude, and the children would learn to be mean, which would cause them to losetheir jobs and friends. Another situation which illustrates this new idea is if the father hasexperienced many important ways to tackle every day conflicts, he can teach the childreneasier ways to work out problems, to do school work, and teach the right ways to talk topeople and get what you want, such as talking your way into a job offer, or a higher job rank. While changing the focus of the original quote does add new meaning, the idea thatthe deeds of one generation affect those who follow, is still apparent. The quote “the sins of the father visit upon the children”, certainly applies to thecircumstances of the Greek drama Antigone.
In this drama, the core conflict is a result of acurse on Oedipus when he kills his father. This conflict demonstrates man vs. the laws of thesate. This is the conflict that hurts following generations.
Antigone wants to marry herbrother, but where she lives it is against Creon’s laws. Other problems which exist inAntigone are also caused by actions of a father or “father figure”. One such situation is whenCreon wants to punish Antigone to death even though his son, Haimon, is to marry her. It iseasy to see how this biblical quote pertains, in particular, to the circumstances in the Greekdrama Antigone. The above examples also show that one can use quotes from one piece ofliterature to help understand and clarify the actions and events in another. Literature does imitate real life, and phrases found in literary works can successfullydescribe life experiences.
The phrase “The sins of the father visit upon the children” can beinterpreted in many different ways depending on how you look at different words, or howyou apply them to real life or literature. You can take word “father” literally, or take it as aword that means parent. “Father” can even mean generations of families. It just depends onthe context of the situation.————————————————————–