Power Of Love In Antigone

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In Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone, war functions to emphasize the strength of love. Scenes that allude to the power of love only occur because Sophocles has set the play to be after a war. Sophocles depicts a war in which brothers spill each others blood on the battlefield. Though filial love is broken between the Eteocles and Polyneices, Antigone’s love still remains for her two brothers. War highlights the shortcomings and tenacity of love through the deaths of Eteocles and Polyneices, Antigone’s perseverance and civil disobedience in the name of love, and the suicides of Haimon and his mother Eurydice. Sophocles not only alludes to the power of love, but the way in which untamed love can
“serve upon ruin” (Sophocles 224).
Sophocles first displays the failure of love through the war and deaths of Polyneices and Eteocles. Polyneices, the brother of Antigone and Eteocles, has broken familial ties and gone against his own people, as he is a commander in the Argive army that attacked his home city of Thebes. With this background, Sophocles is able to reveal how anger can be a stronger emotion than even love as the two brothers met “face to face in a matchless rage” (195). Here it is emphasized that love can be overshadowed by rage and greed as both brothers neglected their shared blood and history and instead were motivated by a place of hate as they fought for power. Rage not only overtook filial love between Polyneices and Eteocles on the battlefield, but before this. Eteocles and Polyneices were unable to share the crown after their father Oedipus’ death. The fight for power ultimately led to Polyneices being exiled from Thebes. This fight for the crown functions as a smaller internal war between the two brothers. Both the internal and external wars allow for love to be exposed as fickle. Love is fickle as it can easily be transformed into hate and this is shown when to loving brothers are torn apart by a single quarrel. With love comes strong emotions and when these emotions are transformed to hate, such hate is unconquerable just as “love (is) unconquerable” (224). Sophocles again represents filial love through Antigone’s love for both of her brothers. Though Antigone’s love is not transformed to
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