The main theme for Antigone is that people sometimes have to learn the hard way from
their mistakes. This theme is expressed in the final four lines of the play. They read, There is no
happiness where there is no wisdom; No wisdom but in submission to the gods. Big words are
always punished, And proud men in old age learn to be wise. These lines are an important part of
the play. They symbolize Creon's bad decisions, his defiance of the gods, the punishment he
went through because of his edict, and the wisdom he gained because of all his mistakes. "There
is no happiness where there is no wisdom" demonstrates how Creon not using wisdom in his
decisions affected him.
By declaring that Polyneices could not have a proper burial, he went against the gods and
the other citizens of Thebes's beliefs. This was not a wise decision on his part, and because of it
he lost his wife, his son, and his happiness. This is what is expressed in the line, "No wisdom but
in submission to the gods."
The edict and decisions that Creon made demonstrated that his law was more important
than the laws of the gods . His defiance of the laws eventually made him believe, by talking to
Teirisias, that something bad would happen to him, so he gave in to his decision. When he gave
into the gods he gained wisdom and learned that his actions would be punished. Creons edict is
considered his big words. In the third line it says, "Big words are always punished." Creons edict
was punished by his loss of happiness. In Ancient Greece, life was full of complicated questions
centered on the expanding Field of science.
Freedom of religion was encouraged to be exercised in the city-states and man was
focused on more than the Gods or heavenly concerns. As a result many new ideals and beliefs
surfaced. These new ideals and beliefs, though good in intentions, often conflicted with One
another and created complex moral dilemmas. Such was the case in Sophocle’s play .
According to Richard Jebb, "It is the only instance in which a Greek play has for its central
theme a practical problem of conduct, involving issues, moral and political, which might be
discussed on similar grounds in any age and in any country of the world." Perhaps personal
experience is the reason why so many people can relate to this sto...
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...laws that he makes are meant to be obeyed. Even if they are of questionable moral judgment.
It is Creon's interactions with Antigone that show the central issue: the conflict between
moral laws and human laws. In the end, moral law supersedes human law, and Creon suffers as a
result. Creon's tragic suffering is what turns him into the hero. Sophocles thereby forces the
reader to feel sympathy toward him. While feeling this sympathy, the reader also learns not to
make the same mistakes Creon did, to avoid being stubborn and unwilling to compromise. Those
characteristics have been shown to signify great suffering and destruction.
1. Gillespie, Sheena and Fonseca, Terezinha and Sanger, Carol A.-3rd ed. (2001).Literature across cultures, Allyn & Bacon, Antigone 953-981
2. Aristotle. Poetics, XIII.3-6
3. Calder, William M. III (1968). Sophokles' Political Tragedy, Antigone.GRBS 9, 389-407
4. Hogan, James C. (1972). The Protagonists of the Antigone.Arethusa 5, 93-100
5. Sophocles (1991).Antigone (David Grene, Trans.) University of Chicago Press.
6. Sophocles (1902).Antigone (Richard Jebb, Trans.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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