Sophocles' Antigone

Sophocles' Antigone

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Being a part of a family forces one to have responsibilities and duties that are needed to be fulfilled. In Sophocles’ Greek tragedy, Antigone, Antigone has the responsibility of being loyal to her brother, Polynices. Her intuition and strong will discourages her from listening to the power of the state and to disobey some of her family to respect another part of her family. Her devotion leads to the destruction of Creon and herself, but her role as a part of her family does not stand in her determination to do what she believes to be right. It is for this reason that she is willing to destroy herself and Creon to fulfill her duty to both her immediate family and the Gods above.
Antigone’s desire to bury her brother proves her devotion to her family. She is a young girl who wants to respect her elders. In Ancient Greece, many girls were married off at a young age, and Antigone is not married. She is also not like a typical girl because she tells Ismene “From mine own He has no right to stay me.” (Sophocles 3), which refers to Creon. Going against the wishes and desires of her own uncle to value her immediate family is a trait she possesses. Antigone’s life is not all about her and would risk her own to make sure they are respected. She would rather respect the people she cares deeply for, whether they are dead or alive, than to live a life filled with guilt. This makes her independent because she will do what is necessary, despite who is or is not behind her, to complete her goal. Being focused helps her to find what she wants and creates her determination against Creon and Ismene for Polynices’ burial.
Ismene’s disapproval against Antigone builds the desire to bury Polynices. Antigone is willing to do it alone and tells Ismene, “I shall not prove disloyal” because “From mine own [Creon] has no right to stay me.” (Sophocles 2-3). Antigone’s inhibitions grow stronger and she risks losing her only other family member, and never being able to see her again. Despite Antigone’s love for her sister, her love for her brother is stronger because she is respectful towards the dead and believes they expect special treatment, despite the fact they are dead. If this weren’t true, Antigone would have given up after she had seen the guards and Creon had warned her of the consequence.

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Ismene is not given the same punishment as Antigone is. This is because she was not as determined as Antigone was, but was caught at the scene of the crime. Ismene’s femininity and submissiveness to authority shows her inability to have an important role in her family. She goes along with what is said and what is coded. Antigone does not do this. She would rather be thrown in jail and be killed than to oppress doing what she believes to be the right thing to do.
Creon’s disagreement to Antigone’s wishes and wants only makes her more furious and gives her more ambition to disobey him. She ridicules him by saying, “It is no shame To pay respect to our own flesh and blood.” (Sophocles 20). Creon’s inability to create a witty response helps to increase Antigone’s ambition. Her devotion and love towards Polynices have no limitations. Antigone believes she must create pain, misery and suffering in Creon’s life to bring him to her level and make him feel the pain she is dealing with. Her obligation to Creon means making him suffer the most in the end because of his inability to see the importance of family and being loyal to them. Even though family mortal and will die, respect is what each person deserves. According to Antigone, respect towards the deceased is her objective in life. Her willingness to die for the refusal of her brother’s burial proves this. The only way she will be able to have closure is to have him buried. Because Creon’s stubbornness stood in the way of allowing this to happen, everyone he has close to committed suicide, causing him to lose the most important people to him. These included his wife and his son. They physically died and, as a cause of this, Creon mentally died. By the time he confesses to doing wrong, he is too late. His actions prove he is “ill-sped” and what he has done has finally “come down on [his] head.” (Sophocles 52).
Antigone and Creon are both important characters in Antigone. Each would be round characters because of the depth inside the two of them. We learn a lot about both and they each grow throughout the play. Antigone does not see a wrong in torturing Creon to go crazy. Creon’s inability to see the point and reason as to why Antigone is burying her dead brother does not give him a positive role to his family. He does not understand and only rules the land according to the law. Even though he lowers the penalty level for Antigone, because she is family, he does not take the time to listen to her requests. He shouts, “You seized—and bring—her !” (Sophocles 16) to the Sentinel, proving he is angry. He is not able to control his temper and becomes very angry when Antigone, especially because she is his family, disobeys him. This makes Creon look like a fool in the kingdom. If his own family cannot obey him and if he cannot keep order and control over his own, how can he do so with a kingdom? It is this ridicule that forces him to punish her.
When she is carried in, she yells, “my nails are broken, my fingers are bleeding, my arms are covered with the welts left by the paws of your guards” (Sophocles ). She knows she has done wrong, but finishes her exclamation with, “but I am a queen!” (Sophocles ). She knows she has status in her family and is willing to fight Creon for it and for her voice to be heard. Just because she is an unwed, young girl of the late 500 BCE, she does not believe she should be pushed around and not cared about or heard. She believes this should happen before she is married to Haemon because her opinion will be disregarded. The past actions of Antigone show she would be rebellious even after marriage. She does not feel as though she should put herself down for a man. She also is doing what she feels to be right and to serve her father. Antigone believes she has the obligation towards Oedipus to bury Polynices. Her father, instead of dying for his wrong doings, gauged out his eyes. This causes him to suffer for the rest of his life. Antigone senses hw miserable he is, and wants that against Creon. By causing the death of everybody with importance and significance in Creon’s life, he is alone. His inability to see anybody or talk to anybody he loves creates a barrier between him self and the rest of the world. Because he cannot live with himself and rule the land, he will step down from the throne and resign his position as the ruler.
Being in a family obligates the members of it to have responsibilities towards the rest of the family. These obligations can be either big or small, but can mean everything to everybody else. Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone is an example of this. Antigone has a strong desire to bury her brother, Polynices, and is willing to lose her life and the loved ones around her. Because of her strong will and desire, she fought for what she believed in and would not let her guard down. Her determination keeps her going, and eventually leads to the death of her and the destruction of Creon. Her obligation to her deceased family brings about her individualism and strengthens the ruling power of Thebes.
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