To begin with, an in depth analysis and understanding of Creon's intents and actions must be established in order to evaluate the reactions of Antigone and Ismene. The central conflict of Antigone derives from Polyneices' betrayal to the city of Thebes. As the ruler, Creon naturally feels compelled to exert his authority by refusing Polyneices a proper burial "for the birds that see him, for their feast's delight" (162). The grotesque imagery evoked not only illustrates Creon's endeavor to discourage further rebellion, but also portrays a personal defense to protect his pride; this need to reassert his pride significantly heightens with Antigone's involvement. From Creon's perspective, leniency represents vulnerability within a leader "if he does not reach for the best counsel for [Thebes], but through some fear, keeps his tongue under lock and key"(167). Throughout the play, the symbol of "tongue" frequently recurs, illustrating how society cond...
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...the gods, through fear of any man's temper"(178). Antigone not only commits the crime, but also publicizes her actions to denounce Creon's actions as unjust in an endeavor to elicit a reaction from the civilians who succumb to Creon's tyranny in silence. Towards the conclusion, the chorus states "Here I too am borne out of the course of lawfulness when I see things, and I cannot control the springs of my tears when I see Antigone making her way to her bed-but the bed that is rest for everyone"(193). Sophocles uses the symbol of the bed to illustrate how the chorus' sympathy for Antigone originates from their common desire to pursue their personal morals; however, their fear of Creon suppresses their inclination to support Antigone. Overall, Sophocles uses the characterization of Antigone and Ismene to demonstrate the conflict between societal and personal morals.
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