Fate in Antigone
Like many other Greek epics and poems, Sophocles ' Antigone follows the theme that fate is a predestined series of events and consequences that are outside the control of mortals and are instead controlled by the Gods. The consequences of the battle between Eteocles and Polyneices serve as the precursor to the conflict between the principled views of Antigone and Creon. After the death of Eteocles and Polyneices at each other 's hand, Eteocles was given a ceremonial burial but the body of Polyneices, who was labeled a traitor as a result of Creon 's edict, was left unburied and rotting. In this story, fate is fulfilled because of the beliefs and characteristics of the characters. Antigone 's two main characters each follow two separate rules of law; Antigone follows religious law, or law of the Gods, and Creon follows, and creates, civic law, and these characters fates have been written according to their beliefs.
The violation of beliefs is the cause of the conflict in Antigone. Antigone took exception to the body of her brother, Polyneices, being left to rot without a burial. Speaking to Ismene, Antigone, who believes that the religious law of the gods overrides civic law, states, "I please those whom I most should please" (89). Antigone believes in justice and it is not just to leave the dead unburied. Creon, king of Thebes, has an opposing philosophy. Creon believes in upholding civil law and that his word is absolute. This can be described in a line from the Chorus Leader to Creon, "For you can make such rulings as you will / about the living and about the dead" (213-214). A couple important characteristics of Creon, his stubbornness and adherence to law, can be seen in some of his early lines...
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...m. Part of the tragedy is that the young, Antigone and Haemon, died and the old, Creon, lived. The Chorus at the end captures the tragedy of Creon well, "Our happiness depends / on wisdom all the way," a quote that Creon ignored until it was too late (1347-1348). "The gods must have their due. / Great words by men of pride / bring greater blows upon them" represents the deaths of Antigone, Haemon, and Eurydice due to Creon 's stubbornness (1349-1350). Lastly, the quote, "So wisdom comes to the old," represent Creon 's isolation and lonliness now; he is a man who has lost everything dear to him and wishes that death takes him from his suffering (1352). Creon is left now with the wisdom and understanding of how his stubborn actions affected his life. The point of fate can be summed up by the Chorus leader, "No mortal can escape / the doom prepared for him" (1338-1339).
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