In many historical and present instances, expression of individual opinion and rights are often oppressed. Such an idea is present in Sophocles’s Antigone, excerpts from Henry Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” essay, and the article “PRO/CON: Is Snowden a hero or traitor” by Mark Weisbrot and James Carafano. Each piece of literature provides a perspective on the topic of oppression and its effect on the human society. The oppression of others’ rights, opinions, and freedom often negatively affects society and damages the mentality of its people.
One perspective of oppression in Antigone is demonstrated through the conflict between Creon and Antigone regarding the burial of Polyneices, Antigone’s brother. Creon is the king of Thebes, and constantly has to assert his power, even if it means suppressing others’ opinions. When Antigone disagrees with his decree of allowing the burial of only one of her brothers, she defiantly performs a burial ritual for the other. Creon is outraged and issues the punishment of death upon Antigone, and condemns her sister Ismene for the same crime “for they are but women, and even brave men run when they see death coming” (Sophocles 460-465). It is clear that the main issue is not about Antigone breaking the law; but that she is an inferior woman who is expressing her opinions against someone of a higher standing. Creon oppresses Antigone for her gender and refuses to acknowledge her perspective because he would rather “lose to a man, at least”
The first specification for the tragic hero is one of the few that both Antigone and Creon exhibit; both characters are between the extremes of perfect morality and pure villainy. Antigone’s moral neutrality is illustrated through her noble intentions and the unorthodox way she acts upon them. When she is confronted by Creon and demanded to give an explanation for her disobedience, Antigone says, “For me it was not Zeus who made that order. Nor did that Justice who lives with the gods below mark out such laws to hold among mankind” (Sophocles 207 ll. 450-2). Along with love and loyalty to her brother, Antigone is largely motivated by her desire for justice and appeasement of the gods. While her intentions are noble, Antigone’s actions in the
In our society filled with social injustice and violence, is it safe to protest unjust actions by the public? As seen in many current events and fictional representations, the world around us still suffers many social issues. When people are faced with injustice, every individual has the should protest and fight for their rights, but not without considering the consequences.
Sophocles’ play “Antigone” illustrates the conflict between obeying human and divine law. The play opens after Oedipus’ two sons Eteocles and Polyneices have killed each other in a civil war for the throne of Thebes. Oedipus’ brother in law Creon then assumes the throne. He dictates that Eteocles shall receive a state funeral and honors, while Polyneices shall be left in the streets to rot away. Creon believes that Polyneices’ body shall be condemned to this because of his civil disobedience and treachery against the city. Polyneices’ sister, Antigone, upon hearing this exclaims that an improper burial for Polyneices would be an insult to the Gods. She vows that Polyneices’ body will be buried, and Creon declares that anyone who
In the Greek play Antigone writer Sophocles illustrates the clash between the story’s main character Antigone and her powerful uncle, Creon. King Creon of Thebes is an ignorant and oppressive ruler. In the text, there is a prevailing theme of rules and order in which Antigone’s standards of divine justice conflict with Creon’s will as the king. Antigone was not wrong in disobeying Creon, because he was evil and tyrannical. The authors of “Antigone: Kinship, Justice, and the Polis,” and “Assumptions and the Creation of Meaning: Reading Sophocles’ Antigone.” agree with the notion that Antigone performs the role of woman and warrior at once. She does not only what a kinswoman would, but also what a warrior would do.
Ismene (Antigone’s sister) points out to Antigone, “Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men,” (Sophocles p.646). This strict patriarchy is symbolized by King Creon, who makes a decree that is opposition with the gods and forbids the proper burial of Polynices (Antigone’s brother).
It is important to discuss Antigone’s point of view on the situation when considering the rhetorical strength of her argument. She stands by the belief that her decision to bury her brother was the right one. Her morals and past experiences have shaped this point of view. Antigone has a strong foundation of family loyalty. This is evident in almost all of her actions, the most obvious being the illegal burial of her brother. Antigone also has lingering discontent towards Creon due to the fact that he took the thrown after her father’s death. These past experience may have shaped attitudes towards Creon beyond the simple unjustness of his law.
Sophocles symbolizes family over authority by using Antigone and Creon to conflict each other's core beliefs, showing that Antigone is willing to die to honor the love for her family, while Creon is willing to kill to honor and enforce his own authority at any cost. As we see in the story, when Antigone's brothers die, she chooses to bury Polyneices even though she knows this will cost her her life. In the play when Antigone tells her sister what she’s going to do, ismene says, ”But think of the danger! Think what Creon will do! ANTIGONE: Creon is not enough to stand in my way” This shows Antigone represents family for the great lengths she will go to to honor her brother. By contrast, Sophocles paints Creon to symbolize authority through murder of his own bloodline. In the play he plans to kill Antigone for choosing her love for her brother over his rule, and so he plans out her execution although she is family to Creon. The Choragos asks Creon “Do you really intend to steal this girl from your son?,” which then he responds by saying “No; Death will do that for me.” Which shows the reader that Creon is unsympathetic to who Antigone is in relation to him. He disregards the importance of family to uphold his authoritative values. By the end of the play the author has shown us Creon has come to realize his ways have cost him his family, and he regrets his decisions.
“Zeus did not announce those laws to me. And Justice living with the gods sent no such laws for men,” (508-510) said Antigone with frustration towards Creon about the act of her burying her brother, even though it was against the law. Antigone’s words, actions, and ideas contrast with Creon’s character to the point of these two characters having conflicting motivations. These conflicting motivations cause the characteristics of stubbornness, disrespect, and anger to be highlighted within Creon’s character. Ultimately, these conflicting motivations develop Creon as a tragic hero by finding in himself that he is wrong about what should have been done with Polyneices’ corpse and the character interactions advance the plot and/or develop the theme by keeping a conflict between Antigone and Creon about who is right.
Traditional gender roles have stamped a hard to remove label on how a woman is supposed to act within society, and this makes it difficult for them to be looked at differently for the good things they do versus the “good” things they do. In Antigone, Antigone “steps out of line” with the Theban laws. Antigone declares to Ismene that she thinks Creon’s law has much injustice, and she’s going to bury the body of Polyneices because she thinks that her brother should have a fine afterlife (Sophocles 118). This quote is saying that Antigone doesn’t really care too much about Creon’s civil law because she believes that moral laws have a higher level of importance than civil laws. Also, she believes that it’s what the gods would want her to do instead of having his body unburied in the desert. This quote is implying that Antigone is willing to have a bad girl image put on her, even though she will be looked at it in a negative way by her uncle for burying the body of Polynices. This quote relates to the bigger picture because it is a powerful moment for women because it breaks away from social norms because Antigone is going to do something that most people would be shocked by, especially because it’s a WOMAN who is doing something that a man would normally do. While some women choose to do what society believes is right, versus what is morally right. Ismene gently states to Antigone that they are only women, and that they are unfit to deal with the things that men deal with, and that they have to listen to the law because it is greater than Antigone and herself (Sophocles 119). This quote implies that Ismene believes Antigone should not mess with the Creon's law which states that Polyneices' body will not be buried because he is a traitor. The quote suggests that Ismene believes that Antigone should maintain a good girl image by acting like a typical female, so she won't get in trouble by Creon and be outcasted by society. Sometimes being the
Sophocles symbolizes family over authority by using Antigone and Creon to conflict each other's core beliefs, showing that Antigone is willing to die to honor the love for her family, while Creon is willing to kill to honor and enforce his own authority at any cost. As the reader see in the story, when Antigone's brothers die, she chooses to bury Polyneices even though she knows this will cost her her life. In the play when Antigone tells her sister what she’s going to do, Ismene tells her it’s dangerous. Antigone responds, “Creon is not enough to stand in my way” (Prologue. 15). This shows Antigone represents
In the drama Antigone, Sophocles considers the source of authority and power in society. When King Creon makes a law that forbids the burial of Antigone's brother, Polynices, she ignores the king’s authority, risks her life, and buries her brother out of loyalty to the gods. The situation leads to a conflict among the people of Thebes, Antigone, and Haemon. They must decide where their loyalty lies, and whose authority should take precedence, that of the king or that of the gods. While a number of views about the role of authority and power are expressed through characters such as Creon, Antigone, and Haemon, the drama seems to support the view that authority does not rest only with one person.
The human struggle to defy what is intrinsically wrong but established as permissible is openly apparent in the initial scenes of the play strong-willed and brave-hearted Antigone reveals her plan to unlawfully bury her brother, only to be rejected and dismantled by cautious and law-abiding Ismene. Although Ismene is saddened by her brother's fate, nomos renders her helpless; social constructs have influenced her belief that their standings as women and individual citizens are no match for state law. Consequently, she is appalled that Antigone would even think of defying Creon, believing their brother's fate is out of their hands. She even warns her sister, "tis witless to be over busy."1 Her chance to rightfully bury Polyneices, and more importantly, to realize her innate responsibility to her kin, is temporarily barred by human-allotted law and practice.
She rebels against Creon’s rules and against the Greek patriarchy by continuing on with her plan. Creon’s indignation on antigone causes a disapproving son, who is Antigone’s fiance and ultimately the rest of society, eventually leading to Creon’s ultimate failure to lead as a king. Antigone overturns a fundamental rule, that women are not superior and should not speak out against man created laws. Since Creon has a misogynistic mindset, this leads to the Gods of Thebes to penalize him. “Nor did I think your edict had such force that you, a mere mortal, could override the gods” (II.4.503-504). Antigone spoke up against Creon for what was right to her, which was a rule followed by her people all the time and a law created by the Gods. However, Sophocles show the reader where fault lies and how women were viewed in Greek society, Antigone, however is a breakout character who goes against the human law and a threat to the status quo.
Even though Antigone has familial love toward her brother, she expresses sympathy toward him. Antigone does this by telling her sister that Creon “Promotes one of them and shames the other” by denying his burial rights (22). In this part of her speech, Antigone chooses her words carefully to describe the situation to her sister and express the sympathy she has for Polyneices, especially when she uses the phrase “shames the other” and “miserable corpse” (22-26). Antigone is sympathetic of her brother Polyneices because he is not given a proper burial and is left to the “vultures, unwept, unburied” like he is forgotten (29). It is also intriguing to see how Antigone’s sympathetic response to the lack of her brother’s burial is actually the familial love she has for him. Because she loves and considers him a part of her family, she is emotionally sorrowful for the way he has been treated.
Antigone is a tragedy with the opposition of state laws and religious laws. The main protagonist is King Creon ruler of Thebes, who has recently stepped up to the throne, after his nephews Eteocles and Polyneices had killed each other in a war over the throne. Creon declares, that his nephew, Eteocles shall receive a proper burial for defending Thebes, while Polyneices's body will be left to rot for attacking Thebes. This idea is greatly opposed by Creon's niece Antigone, as it goes against what she believes is morally right, and that Polyneices was a person and deserves to get a proper burial like everyone else. Despite being the antagonist Antigone is the hero of the play. This is because she is doing what she believes is the right thing to do, she claims, "Say that I am mad, and madly let me risk the worst that I can