Sunday, January 29, 2006

Incestuous Logic

Still reading Pinker's The Blank Slate. I'll have more substantive comments at a later date. But for now, just a minor confusion:
Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta [Oedipus's mother], but the fact that her father was her brother and her sister was her mother was only the beginning of her family troubles. (p. 266)
Okay, I see how Antigone's father was her brother (Oedipus fathered Antigone and was also Antigone's mother Jocasta's son). But how was Antigone's sister her mother? As far as I can tell, Antigone and Jocasta do not share a parent. Did Pinker mean to say, "her sister-in-law was her mother?" That would make sense, since Oedipus did marry Jocasta. Or maybe he meant to say, "her mother was her grandmother." Am I missing something?

1 comment:

Aaron Davies said...

No, you're not missing anything, he's simply wrong. Is there any possibility Pinker's cool enough to be misquoting Tom Lehrer's "Oedipus Rex" song? ("His daughter was his sister and his son was his brother.")