Haimons Covert Scheme

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Haimon has a certain tendency to be overlooked in Sophocles’ Antigone. At first he appears to be a minor character, an accessory to the overt conflict occurring between Kreon and Antigone. We see Haimon supporting his father, but soon thereafter in conflict with him. Haimon expresses disregard for the life of his cold bride to be, yet is defined as being driven by lust. Several questions come up: who does Haimon really support, what drives his actions, and what is his ultimate intent? Unraveling these issues is a tricky task, but what we find is Haimon is far more than an accessory. Haimon is introduced in third-person, making his character easily overlooked and marginalized from the start. Ismene says “oh dearest Haimon, how your father dishonors you,” yet he isn’t even present (573). When Haimon does enter, his father assumes he knows of the situation, meaning he had time to plot his actions. Haimon begins by showing Kreon that he is really on his side, a very common technique for disagreement that can be found in such books as Dale Carnegie’s. The general idea is to start by wining a person’s favor so he will be more open to criticism later. It not uncommon to hold the view that Haimon isn’t using such a technique but actually does support Kreon, however there are problems with such a view. Haimon says an interesting ambiguous statement: “your judgments, being good ones, guide my path aright” (636). The ambiguity is subtle, but it can imply Haimon follows only when Kreon’s judgment is good. As of yet no disagreement has surfaced, but when it does it also shows a degree of planning. Haimon maintains distance from saying his father is wrong, by mentioning that the city favors Antigone’s actions and “things might also turn out well some other way” (687). Haimon then presents a parable: “on a ship, if he who holds the power strains the rigging tights and does not yield, he turns his rowing benches over and completes his voyage upside down” (715). The refinement of the parable does not imply an improvised remark but something premeditated. At this point the reader should ask what motivated this change in Haimon’s views – or was it even a change at all? Within a short span of time Haimon’s stated views change, but there is no clear motivator for the change. Perhaps that... ... middle of paper ... ...character, to consider motivation and intent. Changes in a character’s view don’t occur spontaneously, motivation for change or previous deception regarding the view must be considered. If one moment Haimon supports Kreon and the next opposes him, what causes this change? Likewise, the reader should consider what the character is doing while not the focus of attention. Haimon knew about the events that were unraveling, what can he plan while the focus is elsewhere? Ambiguous terms factor greatly into an interpretation of Haimon’s motivation. Lust and passion are associated with women, but can just as easily be applicable to power or money. Looking at these issues combined we can answer the original questions; whom does Haimon support, what drives his actions, and what is his ultimate intent? Haimon does not support Kreon; he does support Antigone’s views, but is not bothered by threats of her death. As the chorus states, Haimon is driven by lust, but this lust is for power rather than for Antigone. Combine these issues together and what we find is Haimon’s intent – he seeks to exploit a situation where Kreon is in poor standing to fulfill his lust for power by taking the throne.

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