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Greek Mythology - Antigone
Transcript of Greek Mythology - Antigone
A Tale of Sacrifice
Antigone's tragic tale began many years prior to her birth. In a time where a man by the name of King Laius and his wife Jocasta were in rule...
It was during this time that Apollo's oracle began to play an increasingly important role in their family's fortunes.
It was foretold by the oracle that King Laius would die at the hands of his son. Determined to sway the prophecy, the King bound his newborn child's feet together and left it on a lone mountain to die.
Little did he know, the child would not meet its end on the mountain, but would reunite with his father in the imminent future, ultimately proving the oracle's prediction true.
Many years later, after gaining knowledge
of the oracle's prediction, Oedipus set out on a journey to prevent the death of his surrogate father King Polybus of Corinth.
In his wanderings, Oedipus came across a man and his attendants, whom attempted to force him from the path, to such an extent as to beat him with a stick. Angered, Oedipus attacked the man and his attendants, subsequently killing them. Unbeknownst to him, in engaging in such actions, Oedipus had indeed proved the
Oracle's words true.
As our story continues, Oedipus encounters
yet another obstacle, a monstrous creature
known as the Sphynx.
Man after man was devoured by the foul beast, all of whom had failed to answer her perplexing riddle. Inducing fear to the surrounding community, plague befell the city of Thebes
Feeling as though he had nothing to lose, Oedipus tried his luck at the riddle. Fortunately he was victorious, and therefore was crowned ruler of Thebes and husband to their widowed queen, his mother, Jocasta.
For years, Jocasta and Oedipus lived happily with their four children: Polyneices, Eteocles, Antigone
and Ismene. But when the truth was revealed, a tremendous commotion took place, ending in
loss, public disgrace and shame.
Where Antigone's mother's grief led to suicide, Oedipus looked towards self harm, therefore partook in the action of gouging his eyes from their sockets. For, "the black world of blindness was a refuge; better to be there than to see with strange shamed eyes the world that had been so bright."
An Act of Disobedience
What qualities of Antigone's character are apparent?
When examining Antigone's character more
closely, one may say that she is an individual
who shows acts of loyalty, audacity and
To begin, Antigone's most distinct quality is
her never-ending ability to remain loyal.
After the death of her mother Jocasta and all of the evil that had befallen her family, her father Oedipus as well as her eldest brother Polyneices, made the decision to resign the throne.
In the end, Antigone's uncle Creon was elected as regent. As for Oedipus (although treated with kindness at first) it was deemed best that he were expelled from the city.
In his wanderings, Antigone accompanied him, guided him in his blindness as well as remained with him until his peaceful death in Colonus.
As written by Edith Hamilton, "The only friends Oedipus had were his daughters. Through all of his misfortunes, they were faithful to him."
In listening to this passage, one is able to infer that, despite the fact that both her life, as well as her reputation were on the line, Antigone was willing to remain with those that she truly loved and cared for.
In addition to her devotion towards her loved ones, Antigone also shows tremendous acts of valor. Due to an act of rebellion against Thebes led by her eldest brother Polyneices, Creon had decided to make
it against his law to allow a proper burial to any
of those who partook in the act of revolt,
When asked if she had transgressed this law, Antigone replied, "Your law, but not the law of
justice that dwells with the gods, the unwritten
laws of heaven are not of today nor yesterday, but from all time."
Although having knowledge of the fact that disobedience towards her uncle would result
in fatality, Antigone remained determined
to grant her brother the proper
Furthermore, Antigone demonstrates a
high level of dignity for herself.
Unfortunately, Antigone was seen while burying Polyneices and was therefore sentenced to death.
As Antigone was led away, her
sister Ismene emerged weeping from
the palace and attempted to convince Antigone's captors that she assisted in the burial.
But, Antigone would have none of it and bade her sister say no more.
Although her actions resulted in a promised afterlife for her dear brother, it is apparent to the audience that Antigone's pride is both a blessing as well as fatal downfall.
Not only was Antigone angered at her uncle's rash decision making, but also at the fact that she believed he had no right to make such a law, especially one that dishonored one of his own blood.
When considering the character traits of Antigone and placing them in a present day situation, one might say that her personal characteristics match those acquired by a social worker. A social worker is one “who seeks to improve the quality of the life and well being of an individual, group or community by intervening on behalf of those afflicted with poverty or any real or perceived social injustices, and violations of their human rights." Antigone possesses the characteristics of someone who is loyal, passionate, steadfast and bold. These characteristics are an important factor of this occupation because, in order to improve a persons quality of life, you have to be passionate about what you do, bold enough to put your thoughts to action, and loyal enough to follow through with your beliefs, even though it may not be the most convenient for you.
Antigone In The
Twenty - First Century
Is it acceptable for a hero to have flaws?