I will either kill them, or myself, or both.” This can explain Antigone’s excessive desire to bury her brother and even further be supported in lines 25-28 when Antigone challenges her sister’s loyalty. Aristotle himself said that a tragic hero should be neither better nor worse normally than a normal person. With that being said Antigone’s sister, Ismene, was in the same position as her. Originally invoking a sense of naturalism this changes with Ismene’s refusal to help bury their brother. The lack of support for Antigone’s plan leaves her no choice, but distances herself from her sister who obviously doesn’t share the same family loyalty beliefs as her (Lines 77-81).
However, Antigone places her individual conscience and love for her brother Polyneices above and against the power and authority of the state, which costs her life. "You ought to realize we are only women, not meant in nature to fight against men, and that we are ruled, by those who are stronger, to obedience in this and even more painful matters." In the opening of the play, Antigone and Ismene meet in the night. Antigone laments Creon's decree that whoever tries to bury Polyneices or mourn for him must be stoned to death. Although Ismene declares that the sisters lack any power in the situation, Antigone insists that she will bury Polyneices, and asks for Ismene's help.
However, compliance is not enough for Antigone. The desire to honor her brother goes way beyond her instinct to protect herself. Antigone finally accepts that her sister is not going to help her in her mission: “Go be the person you’ve chosen to be./ I’ll bury Polyneices myself. I’ll do/ what’s honorable, and then I’ll die.” (Antigone lines 84-85) This statement proves that Antigone is aware of what the consequences for her actions will be. She comprehends that choosing to defy the government by honoring her brother will end in certain death, and she seems at peace with her decision.
Antigone is the protagonist in the story Antigone. She is a young girl who rises up against her uncle, King Creon to defend what she believes in. King Creon is seen amongst the society as a dictator and feels no one should go against his orders. One of King Creon’s orders is to not give Antigone’s brother, Polyneices, a proper burial because he thought Polyneices was a traitor. Antigone, however, chooses to bury her brother because in her heart she feels it is the right thing to do, knowing full well that Creon disapproves and has made it clear that if anyone attempts to touch Polyneices, they will be stoned in public.
Her own laws, or morals, drive her to break Creon's law placed against Polyneices burial. Even after she realizes that she will have to bury Polyneices without the help of her sister, Ismene, she says: Go away, Ismene: I shall be hating you soon, and the dead will too, For your words are hateful. Leave me my foolish plan: I am not afraid of the danger; if it means death, It will not be the worst of deaths-death without honor. Here Ismene is trying to reason with Antigone by saying that she cannot disobey the law because of the consequences. Antigone is close-minded when she immediately tells her to go away and refuses to listen to her.
Although Creon views Antigone as a criminal for most of the play, Antigone’s heroic actions towards her family made Creon change his mind which ultimately makes Antigone a martyr and Creon a tragic hero. Antigone wants justice for her brother who was killed in the war and left without a proper burial. Antigone will do anything in her power; even die, to make sure her brother is buried according to the god’s law. Family is very important to Antigone but not even family can stop her from making her decision to defy Creon’s law. Antigone demonstrates her strength as both a character and a female heroine throughout the entire play.
In the end Antigone chooses to obey the gods and “loving and loved [she] will lie by [Polynices’s] side,” (Sophocles 3). By burying her brother she not only obeys divine law but her familial duty to her brother. Antigone’s desire to obey the gods shows that she understands the importance of divine law. Ismene, however, fulfills her familial duty to Creon and the state instead. By standing with Creon as a united front against the populace she is ensuring her family remains in power and tells Antigone that to disobey Creon “’tis wrong to attempt at all.” In this instance she chooses to obey the state over the gods and as well her duty to her uncle over her brother.
Antigone’s strength allows her to defend her brother’s honor against Creon, who wants to make a statement about traitors. However, both Antigone and King Creon commit faults while trying to protect the things they love. Antigone should not have died for her beliefs as it puts her loved ones and community in danger, and Creon should not have forbidden the burial of Polyneices as it angers the Gods and causes him great suffering in the end. Antigone is a strong willed character who is not afraid to defend her beliefs. After learning that Creon has denied Polyneices of a proper burial she uses her free will to decide that she must lay her brother to rest, as she strongly believes he should be honored like the other fallen soldiers.
Although both sisters have lost their brothers, Antigone is the only one who will go against her king to do what she knows is right. When Antigone asks her sister if she will help her bury their brother Polyneices, Ismene responds with, “We are only women; we cannot fight with men, Antigone! The law is strong; we must give into the law…” (Ismene 774). Naturally, Ismene should be afraid for herself, as well for the safety of her sister because what Antigone is asking of her will mostly likely cause them both to be killed. However, she should be braver like Antigone, and realize that she must do what is morally right for their family, and give her brother the proper burial that he deserves.
Antigone believes that as Polyneices' sisters, they are responsible for burying him properly, according to the god's rules. On the contrary, Ismene feels that they should not get involved, they are "women born, unapt to cope with men." (Sophacles, p.3) Antigone disregards this statement and still adamantly insists that they must bury him. She feels that by burying him, she will be following the gods, which is more important than following the ruler. As she says on page 3, “Loving and loved, I will lie by his (Polynices) side.