Antigone Suicide Analysis

Antigone’s Death: Plan or Gamble? In Seamus Heaney’s The Burial At Thebes, a translation of Sophocles’ Antigone, there are multiple deaths and suicides alike throughout the entirety of the play. One of the most controversial deaths may actually have been an intentional suicide. Throughout the play, the characters and readers are led to believe that Antigone’s death was an unfortunate and unfair punishment. However, with a deeper review of the text, her decision to commit suicide seems prevalent before she is sealed away in a cave.
The opening conversation of the play is between Antigone, and her sister, Ismene. Their two brothers have just slain one another in a battle at Thebes; the brother who defended Thebes, Eteocles, is receiving an elegant burial, while the brother who attacked Thebes, Polyneices, is being left out to rot. Antigone and Ismene are arguing over what to do about Polyneices’ burial, or lack thereof. Antigone is urging Ismene to defy Creon’s order to leave Polyneices unburied. She says to Ismene, “What are Creon’s rights / When it comes to me and mine?” (9), Antigone is explaining that the law of the land should not come before the law of the gods. When Ismene starts to become skeptical of Antigone’s plan, Antigone tries to sever their relationship forever by
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With only her afterlife in mind, Antigone starts to become more and more of a martyr through her actions. One of those actions was burying her disgraced brother and accepting the consequence of death. The most prominent martyr-like action was her decision to hang herself in the cave, showing that she would not bend to Creon’s will (her eventual starvation). Antigone committed suicide in The Burial at Thebes because she cared more about her life after death and pleasing the gods than she did her mortal life and pleasing the

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