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Essay on Light and Dark in Antigone

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Use of Light and Dark in Antigone

The "Golden Age" of Greece is noted for its many contributions to the creative world, especially in its development of the play. These performances strived to emphasize Greek morals, and were produced principally for this purpose. Antigone, by Sophocles, is typical. The moral focused on in Antigone is the conflict between physis (nature) and nomos (law), with physis ultimately presiding over nomos. Throughout Antigone, King Creon is a symbol for nomos, while Antigone stands on the side of physis. To portray these ideas, light and dark images are used as a recurring motif to reinforce the theme. Light is used to show something good that is happening, whereas dark is utilized to show something of
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These are all positive feedback to the victory of Eteolces, and with the help of these light images, it is easy to identify the chorus' thoughts. Another praise to Creon is found in Ode I, where his law against burying Polyneices is referred to as "clear intelligence". In this instance, "clear" is used in the sense that it is easily visible, or obvious, making the statement positive for Creon. Later, in Ode I, the gods again side with Creon, as they refer to his decisions in lines 4 to 5, "Earth, holy and inexhaustible, is graven/With shining furrows where his plows have gone..." The gods are praising Creon; "shining furrows where his plows have gone" imply that he has left a good indent on matters that he has ruled on, in this case referring to the law against burying Polyneices. It is once again apparent that nomos is being favored by the chorus.

As the middle of Antigone approaches, the chorus seems to be unsure of whom to favor, and is torn between physis and nomos. Because of this, references to light and dark motifs in scenes two and three are ironic, and sometimes even contradictory. In lines 89 to 90 of Scene II, Creon claims, "...crimes kept in the dark/Cry for light". As Creon says this in regards to Antigone, this statement, ironically, could apply to him as well, as his recent actions and abuse of his power could also be considered a crime. This comment actually foreshadows Creon's own fate. Another
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