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[44] simply a survival of this obstinate denial. While filial love and deference towards the m-other form a most potent influence in many nations otherwise benighted, it is also true that there have always been races holding the view that a man is in no strict sense the son of his mother, but only of his father. Tills view assumes that he stands to his mother only in the relation held by the rose to the garden that produced it — a relation of necessary dependence, not of lineal descent.

The highest and most careful statement of this paradoxical theory is to be found in the Greek drama called the “Eumenides,” commonly translated as “The Furies,” by Aeschlylus, the greatest of Greek dramatists, and, in the opinion of some, the greatest of the world's poets. The hero, Orestes, has slain his mother, Clytemnestra, for her sins; and the Furies claim him as their victim, because they have jurisdiction over those who have shed the blood of kindred. Orestes asks why, then, did they not punish Clytemnestra herself, without leaving him to do it? They say that it was because her ]husband, whom she slew, was not one of her kindred. But, he says, am I of kindred with her? They cry out in indignation against this monstrous remark, and the matter is referred to Phoebus Apollo, who thus rules: “The mother is not the parent of what is called her child, but only the nurse of the infant ”

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Orestes (2)
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