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Antigone

IOP
by

Div Raj

on 22 May 2013

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Transcript of Antigone

Antigone IOP By Divij Rajesh Thesis Sophocles uses allusions and characterization to show Antigone as a believer of fate and Creon as a believer of free will and ironically imply both characters’ are wrong and that free will can only be achieved by following the laws of man and the laws of Gods. Antigone: Believer of Fate Although Antigone breaks the laws to do what she thinks is right, she is a believer of fate. She worships the Gods, and acknowledges that she is part of a cursed family “My own flesh and blood-dear sister, dear Ismene, how many griefs our father Oedipus handed down! Do you know one, I ask you, one grief that Zeus will not perfect for the two of us while we still live and breathe? There’s nothing, no pain-our lives are pain-no private shame, no pubic disgrace, nothing I haven’t seen in your griefs and mine.” (1-8)

This shows that Antigone is a believer in fate because she believes in the mythical curse that has struck her family and does not think that Zeus will help her get out of it because it was already set into motion years ago “So do as you like, whatever suits you best- I will bury him myself. And even if I die in the act that death will be a glory. I will lie with the one I love and loved by him an outrage sacred to the gods! I have longer to please the dead than please the living here: in the kingdom down below I’ll lie forever. Do as you like, dishonor the laws the gods hold in honor.” (84-92)

Antigone directly says she is going to and wants to die. She also says that she would rather praise the dead and believes that the Gods support her. This shows that she prefers the Gods to men “Of course I did. It wasn’t Zeus, not in the least, who made this proclamation- not to me. Nor did that Justice, dwelling with the gods beneath the earth, ordain such laws for men. Nor did I think your edict had such force that you, a mere mortal, could override the gods, the great unwritten, unshakeable traditions… These laws- I was not about to break them, not out of fear of one man’s wounded pride, and face the retribution of the gods.” (499-505, 509-511)

She does not believe the laws of Creon are above the laws of Gods. She also hints that she fears the Gods more than Creon Creon: Believer of Free Will Creon believes in free will, but only for himself. For example, his first law, that restricted the burial of Polynices, was justified by only himself. Also, when he spoke to the Leader, he mentioned that if anyone broke his rules would be sentenced to death Never! Sister's child or closer in blood than all my family clustered at my altar worshiping Zeus- she'll never escape, she and her blood sister, the most barbaric death." (543-546)

Creon is displaying free will only for himself by creating his own laws and even changing them to fit his needs “These are my principles. Never at my hands will the traitor be honored above the patriot. But whoever proves his loyalty to the state I’ll prize that man in death as well as life.” (232-235)

Creon shows that he is a strong believer in the laws of man because he is completely neglecting the laws of Gods and says that he only respects those who follow him and not the divine law Sophocles' Irony Sophocles lived mostly in Athens, the birthplace of democracy. He also fulfilled his duty to the city by learning the culture of the city and was very spiritual. All of these components led to Sophocles bring up the ironic point that free will can only be achieved by following laws made by others. Then, he brings up the question: which rules must be followed in order to achieve free will for all? This is where Antigone and Creon come in. Antigone only follows divine law, and she has no respect for her own life. Creon only follows the laws of man, and he is a tyrant. Here, Sophocles is trying to show that following only one set of laws is not right. To further prove this, he creates the two character's downfalls Reversal Quotes “And now he leads me off, a captive in his hands, with no part in the bridal-song, the bridal-bed, denied all joy of marriage, raising children-deserted by so loved ones, struck by fate, I descend alive to the caverns of the dead.” (1008-1012)

This quote shows that Antigone realizes that if she had accepted the rules of man as well, then she would have been able to get married and have children. However, she is still sticks to her beliefs, which is to follow the laws of Gods, unlike Creon.

“Oh its hard, giving up the heart’s desire… but I will do it- no more fighting a losing battle with necessity (1228-1230)

-At this point, Tiresias has come and gone and told Creon that a plague will hit Thebes if he does not free Antigone and bury Polynices. As a result, Creon finally accepts the laws of God and decides to do as Tiresias told him to. However, he is too late and once Antigone kills herself, a chain of events is set into motion which results in Creon being at fault for the deaths of his wife and son. Unlike Antigone, who remained loyal to the laws of Gods, Creon had a complete reversal started to believe in the laws of Gods as well. Conclusion In the play Antigone, Sophocles tried to show that free will can only be reached by following all the laws, which in this case are the laws of Gods and the laws of man. This is ironic because it presents the paradox that free will cannot exist without rules. Sophocles uses Antigone and Creon to show that if laws are ignored, free will cannot be achieved. Neither characters were allowed to do what they wanted and get away with it because the set of laws that they ignored stopped them. Antigone could not get away with burying Polynices because Creon’s laws sentenced her to death. Creon could not get away with imprisoning Antigone because the Gods would send a plague to Thebes. However, in addition with these two doomed characters, Sophocles included another, more successful character, Ismene.

“I’d do them (Gods) no dishonor… but defy the city? I have no strength for that (92-93) Conflict Creon has created a law of man, which states that Polynices, a brother of Antigone, to remain unburied. However, Antigone sees this as a defiance towards the laws of God, and so the conflict between the laws of man and the laws of God is sparked. Citations . "Antigone: Theme Analysis." Novelguide. Novelguide. Web. 15 Jan 2013. <http://www.novelguide.com/antigone-sophocles/themeanalysis.html>.

K, Danny. "Sophocles’ Biography." Sophocles’ Biography. Sophocles’ Biography, 29 Apr 2002. Web. 15 Jan 2013. <http://enloehs.wcpss.net/projects/west42002/sophocles8/bio.html>.
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