The Domino Effect In Sophocles Antigone

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The Domino Effect
The classic plays of Ancient Greece are characterized by their use of hamartia to teach the audience not to make the same mistakes as the tragic hero. Hamartia and tragic flaws, such as hubris, are seen throughout Sophocles’ Antigone. However, the tragedy experienced in the play is all caused by one character’s flaw which causes a domino effect that leads to the ruin of the entire kingdom. Creon’s tragic flaw, his hubris and pride, is what essentially causes the demise of the other characters. His struggle to protect the lives of his family and kingdom all backfires as the rest of the characters, instead, chose death and honor than to defy the gods and live. This clash between life and death begins long before the start of
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His pride and anger becomes an obstacle and he is unable to see things for what they truly are. In an excerpt from the play Creon says, “You say – why it is intolerable – say the gods could have the slightest concern for that corpse… The hero who came to burn their temples ringed with pillars… Exactly when did you last see the gods celebrating traitors (Sophocles 319-327)?” As the uncle of Polynices, Creon is ashamed and hurt that his own nephew dared to raise an army against his own birthplace. This betrayal devastates Creon, which leads to the reader’s revelation of his many flaws and his growing disgust toward others. Joseph Tomain explores whether positive law, embodied by Creon’s policies, is subject to be overridden by some form of higher law, or the God’s will that Antigone tries to obey. In this, he states that there is not a clear answer to which one supersedes the other (Tomain). However it is clear that in the midst of Creon’s hatred, he establishes a law that goes against the will of the gods and leads to the demise of the virtuous Antigone which causes the downfall of other…show more content…
He becomes tyrannical, believing he can do whatever he wants. He believes that “the city is the king’s – that is the law” (Sophocles 826). In an article published by The British Psychological Society, Lord David Owen says that hubris is an “acquired personality change involving people in positions of power” much like Creon (Willard). He even becomes paranoid that others are trying to steal his crown and imprisons the innocent Ismene. Ismene is a “woman… not born to contend with men… we are underlings, ruled by much stronger hands, so we must submit in this” (Sophocles 74-77). She understands her place in society and the role she is expected to play and, despite all objections, she is loyal to her king, even if he is a tyrant. She does not even dare to defy Creon; she has “no strength for that” (Sophocles 93). However, she too, loves her brother and when Antigone is caught, she is willing to die with her to ease the passing. Ismene is strong and rational. However, Creon cruelly imprisons this virtuous character despite the fact that he doesn’t truly believe she had any part in the crime. At first Creon tells his guards to “tie up” (Sophocles 654) Ismene and Antigone but he later retracts that statement and says he will not kill “the one whose hands are clean” (Sophocles 868-869). Watson argues that Creon’s decree is the first of his reign so it must be firmly enforced to show his power (Owoeye).

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