Essay: Antigones Antigone Depicts the Human

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[. . .] Determination throughout the play is shown to be linked to hubris and proves sometimes less of a gift and more of a flaw that all characters posses. In such times the need of a hero is obviously felt and Antigine rises to take that place with her sacrifice and pointing out right from wrong and what has been wrongly attained (Carpentier. 1994).

State vs. Individual

Athenians, and particularly Thebans have always been sensitive to the state taking over the individual rights and they have a very strong idea of a strong leader and a brutal tyrant. Creon as the state leader is shown to be cruel and selfish but since he is caught in conflict between his inner self he is also shown to be the sympathetic character that is shown to be abusing his power subtly, mainly by using his laws to separate the divine law provided by Gods. He is shown to be completely be loyal to his state and but when it comes to taking into account all the individuals of the state he is shown to be weak to human needs and poor judgment (Steiner. 1984).

Difference of Choices

Antigone ideally represents the tradional conflict between a government and individual wants and needs and indirectly urges on following the laws and rules set by the state making the rule of the leader absolute and the definition of democracy is explained in the words of the state leader not the people who are the integral part of democracy. This includes that citizens are supposed to follow the laws that have been made by the people not the Gods and which the citizens have to obey (McDonald. 1992). Admist all of this chaos Antigone rises to set right from wrong and in both the plays points out the flaws in the earlier version of the play she screams as to what she wants to do and will eventually do it and in the second world war version she shown to already have achieved some form of divine ruling from above. On this note one school of thought says that the character of Creon has massively abused his power and would have to veil the warnings to Pericles and the Athenian people about the horrendous dangers which lay ahead in relation to dictatorship (Radford. 1992). In both the plays Creon cruelly insists that's Antigone suffer a punishment for her actions which were standing up against the wrongs of society and what Creon was implying to do. His refusal to listen to any line of reasoning served to remind the Athenian audience of the terrors that tyranny.

Character Analysis


Antigone is shown to be the daughter of Jocasta and the sister of Creon and also half daughter half sister of Antigone, the daughter of Jocasta (sister of Creon) and daughter/half-sister of Oedipus who is the king of Thebes. She is shown to be a strong willed woman who makes the decision to bury her brother against the ruling of her uncle Creon who is also the new king. She calls this the "unwritten law," and still proceeds to bury her brother and follow the required rituals which need to be followed to bury the dead. When her brother discovers about her actions sentences her to be buried alive. However on the advice of a prophet when Creon goes to rescue her sister he had already hung herself and her fiance Haemon commits suicide to join her in death and hence Antigone represents the typical Allegiance to family and tradition. By ignoring Cerons ruling she showcases her faith in the supreme power and authority and also depicts a sense of responsibility and duty to her God and her family. She strongly depicts that family and personal human relations should be always above the law and politics (Romilly. 1985).


Creon is Antigone's uncle, brother of her mother, Jocasta. He was made king after the tragic fall of Oedipus as the ruler. For the hold on power and lust Creon becomes a rebellions without a cause and the first example of this is shown when the orders Polyneices body to not be buried at all. When told of the accusations that someone had dared to go against his order he orders for the culprit to be caught and to be buried alive. Creon does not listen to elder and remains untended even when his elders are telling him not to do so for instance Chorus and Teiresias. He is shown to be autocrat who is an absolute leader.


The Chorus is shown to be another convention of the Greek drama. In the play Antigone they are shown to act the older nobles and wise men to comment and advise people and especially rules on their actions and underline and highlight the important moral points. They are also part of the civil war which pitted brothers Eteocles and Polyneices against each other.


Haemon is shown to be the son of Creon and Eurydice and is engaged to be married to Antigone. From this relation he urges and tried to persuade his father to allow the burial for Antigones brother and release Antigone (Braun, Richard. 1973). Creon refuses and calls his son a slave to Antigone. Disowned by his father Haemon breaks into Antigones tomb to find her already dead and hence kills himself in front of his father. He such high love and admiration for Antigone that he cannot bear to live without her


Antigone's sister Ismene loves her sister and brothers, but she is against Antigone to bury her brother so that she does not disobey the king. She constantly reminds her sister that as women I is not up to them to decide what is right and what is wrong and what they should do, but Antigone does not listens to her sister. When Ismene finds out about what has happened to her sister she is devastated by the loss of family but because of her belief in her no status she feels powerless as to what to do. Ismene serves the purpose of foil for while she breaks all the rule of governance and behavior of women in the society and represents a strong intelligent woman who knows how to govern herself according to a sense of personal empowerment self-reliance.

The fact that antagonism is shown to be on the valid and right principle, it is always peculiar to polytheism. It is not that the struggle between Antigone and Creon showcases the struggle between basic structure and habits that are established and governed by man, which he sometimes has trouble bringing into harmony with his inner self (Beacham. 1992). Until inner harmony is not perfected, one can never be able to achieve the ultimate right without also doing and eventually realizing a wrong. Throughout the history reformers and fighters never just fight against evil but they also place themselves in the position of good so that people learn from them so that people realize that it is not just enough to protest against the bad but to portray a sense of good as well so that people feel hopeful.


Beacham, Richard C. "Antigone by Sophocles." The International Dictionary of Theatre, Vol. 1: Plays. Edited by Mark Hawkins-Dady. St. James Press, 1992, pp. 21-3.

Braun, Richard Emil, translator. Introduction. Antigone. By Sophocles. Oxford University Press, 1973, pp. 5, 12.

de Romilly, Jacqueline. "Drama in the Second Half of the Fifth Century: Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes." A Short History of Greek Literature. Translated by Lillian Doherty. University of Chicago Press, 1985, pp. 66-89.

Radford, Colin. "Antigone by Jean Anouilh." The International Dictionary of Theatre, Vol. 1: Plays. Edited by Mark Hawkins-Dady. St. James Press, 1992, pp. 23-4.

Saxonhouse, Arlene W. Fear of Diversity: The Birth of Political Science in Ancient Greek Thought. University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Steiner, George. Antigones. Oxford University Press, 1984.

Carpentier, Alejo. Teatro. La Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1994.

Donellan, Declan. Sophocles Antigone. In a new version. London: Oberon Books, 1999.

Glissant, Edouard. Le Discours Antillais. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1981.

Harkin, Hugh. "Irish Antigones: Towards Tragedy Without Borders?." Irish University

Review 38. 2, Autumn / Winter 2008. 292-309.

Heaney, Seamus. "Thebes… [END OF PREVIEW]

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