Antigone Reparations Joan of Arc

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Antigone Reparations Joan of Arc

"Think: all men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and he repairs the evil: the only crime is pride." Such was the admonition of the wise prophet Teiresias in Sophocles' Antigone. In literature as in life, men often stubbornly hold on to their precious pride and reek havoc on those who least deserve it. Unfortunately, men rescind their mistakes too late. Their hubris does not make them evil, but it is dubious whether they can be considered good, honorable men. Repenting for past wrongs does not erase mistakes, for the effects of these mistakes are not rescinded with an apology.

In the play Antigone, the downfall of King Kreon was tragic in that his fatal flaw, hubris, caused not only his own downfall, but that of many others. Antigone, the noble heroine, just suffering the loss of her two brothers, defies her Uncle Kreon's edict and buries Polyneices. She buried her dear brother out of familial love and duty to the gods. Kreon, who had previously stated that anyone who would dare defy his edict would suffer death, sentenced his own niece to death. Everyone, it seems, was opposed to Kreon's order. Referring to this fatal flaw, Sophocles notes that "Kreon has shown there is no greater evil than men's failure to consult and to consider" (1438-1439). Kreon had earlier stated, "I believe that he who rules in a state and fails to embrace the best men's counsels, but stays locked in silence and vague fear, is the worst man there" (217-220). Although Kreon voiced such lofty principles, his actions were to the contrary. Haimon, his son and Antigone's fiancé, offered advice but, while Koryphaios was willing to listen, Kreon arrogantly questioned "Men our age, learn from him?" (876). Haimon warned his father, "[t]hen she'll die, and her death will destroy others" (908). His admonition, which foreshadowed the tragedy, was disregarded by his arrogant father. Even Teieresias warned Kreon against his planned course of action. Kreon initially rejecting the prophet's advice to yield, subsequently conceded to the wise prophet's advise, but it was too late. Antigone had hung herself, Haimon had died of his own sword, and Eurydice, his wife, had killed herself out of grief. In attempting to prevent disorder, King Kreon bred disorder and became tyrannical.
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