It takes a lot of courage to stand up and defend an action or idea that is forbidden by society. This is what Antigone does in Sophocles' story Antigone. She clearly disobeys King Creon's order that no person should bury Antigone's brother, Polynices, which is punishable by penalty of death. In this case, is Antigone's decision the correct one? Her actions affect many of her other countrymen negatively because they cause problems within the royal family, disagreement among the people and directly relate to the death of three people including her own. By burying her brother, Antigone knowingly and willingly went against royal orders and in doing so chooses her own death. She knows as well as anyone in the town that death would come …show more content…
It must seem inconceivable to Creon that the gods would ever want a traitor like Polynices buried, let alone with the same ceremony as his brother Eteocles. Creon believes in the gods of the country and he is sure that he is acting in the best interest of Thebes. If he had decided to bury Polynices it would show him and his country as being weak. It would send a message that Thebes is a country that honors its traitors. This could put the country in jeopardy of another attack. Antigone's decision to bury her brother caused harm to many people. First, she tried to convince her sister Ismene to help her. She did this by trying to make Ismene feel guilty if she did not; stating it was Ismene's brother too. She says after Ismene tells her she is on a hopeless quest "If you say so, you will make me hate you and the hatred of the dead, by all rights, will haunt you day and night."(Act I: Scene I: Line 57) This threat brings Antigone farther apart from the only living family member that she has left. She has her mind set so much on burying her brother that she will stop at nothing, not even threatening her opposing sister to do it. Since Ismene has been through the same 3 hardships as Antigone and is just now starting to put her life back together, it is understandable why she would not want to go on this suicide mission. She would be sacrificing her own body for her brother's dead one. After Antigone carries out with the deed Ismene now
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In Sophocles’ piece, King Kreon prohibited the burial of Polynices, Antigone’s brother, because he was seen as a traitor to his country. Antigone blatantly disobeyed King Kreon’s proclamation because she thought that Polynices ought to be buried not only because he was blood- family, but because the gods law states that burial is a necessary ceremony. Her sister, Ismene, tried to warn her of the trouble she could find herself in, if King Kreon finds out that it was Antigone who had buried her brother, the traitor. (Blondell, 21). In addition, Antigone does not hesitate to admit to this illegal deed when the guards catch her in the act (Blondell, 37,38). While she acted out of respect for her brother and the gods, it was selfish in the fact that she was only thinking of herself. She did not hesitate to disregard King Kreon’s law and did not take any factor into consideration. Antigone accepted that her life was the price to pay for her civil disobedience, but her actions also, unintentionally, led to the death of two other people. Although, in the end, King Kreon sees that Antigone was right, the reason for which she had fought, and ultimately lost her life for, had no significant positive effect on anyone else.
Being that Antigone is the protagonist, her character is important in the play. She made the decision to bury her brother knowing that it was against Creon’s law. Ismene refused to help Antigone, which left her angry, yet still determined to bury her brother. She knew that burying her brother could lead to her own death, but she continued to show courage, strength, and determination throughout her role. In the beginning, Antigone says, “Dear god, shout it from the rooftops. I’ll hate you all the more for silence/ tell the world!”(17,100-101). This was said to Ismene, when they were discussing burial plans and Ismene was telling Antigone that she was against the plan. Antigone’s dialogue shows that she is not worried about being punished or worried about who knows what she has done. It is clear that Antigone is sincere about honoring the gods, her actions show that she feels that she is pleasing the gods and that is all that matters to her. “These laws/ I was not about to break them, not out of fear of some man’s wounded pride, and face the retribution of the gods.”(30, 509-511). This demonstrates how she feels about man’s law vs. divine law. In the plot, there was not one time where Antigone denied
Antigone’s motivation is love for her family- she puts it above all else. In fact, she is willing to sacrifice her life to defend that love. Antigone goes to great lengths to bury her deceased brother, who according to an edict issued by King Creon, died in dishonor, consequently making it illegal for anyone to bury his body. Through her actions to comply with her motivations, it is revealed that Antigone’s actions are also fueled by her strong beliefs that, first, the gods’ laws
Moreover, Antigone’s ability to follow her own beliefs results into the heroicness and tragic death of Antigone. Antigone is from a royal family and has the power to do what she believes in. She believes in following traditions and exercises that power when she says, “I will bury him, and if I must die, I say that the crime is holy: I shall lie down With him in death, and I shall be as dear To him as he to me” (694). Antigone follows her beliefs in following tradition and by doing what she feels is best. Antigone does this because she knows she is doing the right thing and knows that she will be repaid in some way. Furthermore, Antigone justifies her actions by telling the reasons that motivated her to do it to King Creon. She refuses to give in to the beliefs of King Creon and continues to think her own separate way. Antigone takes a stand to Creon when she says, “ Think Death less than a friend? This death of mine Is of no importance, but if I had left my brother Lying in death unburied, I should have suffered. Now I do not. You smile at me. Ah Creon , Think me a fool, if you like, but it may well be That a fool convicts me of folly” (709). Antigone believes what she is doing is correct and proves that to Creon , but he is still not convinced. It is important for Antigone to do what she believes is so that she will be pleased and satisfied with the outcome. Antigone’s ability to pursue her goals and to what she wants
Finally on page 774, Antigone is still determined to give her loving brother, Polyneices, a proper burial when she says, “…as for me, I will bury the brother I love.” In this incident, Antigone is headstrong about giving her brother what he deserves, despite the fact that Ismene told her to obey the law. Antigone is acting as if she were a rebellious teenager because she is contradicting political laws to perform acts that would seem moral to her for the sake of Polyneices. Like the discussion Antigone had with her sister, she will remain being headstrong to whoever confronts her.
In Antigone, Antigone and her sister Ismene return to Thebes in an attempt to reconcile their brothers—Eteocles, who was defending the city and his crown, and Polyneices, who was attacking Thebes. However, both brothers were killed, and their uncle Creon became the king. He forbade burial is the corpse of Polyneices, declaring him a traitor. Antigone, moved by love for her brother and convinced that the command went against the law of the gods, she buried Polyneices secretly. Antigone lines 72-74 “And if I have to die for this pure crime,/ I am content, for I shall rest beside him;/ His love will answer mine”. It was Antigone’s fate to die after burying her brother. It also was her fate to be Oedipus’ daughter/sister.
After a war between Eteocles and Polyneices, the result is both brothers perishing. Following this, Creon the new king decides Polyneices shall not be buried because he believes he is a traitor just because he wanted a chance at the throne as their late father promised him and Eteocles. Upon hearing this news Antigone doesn’t take well to it and knows she must do something about this. This is because without a proper burial Polyneices will not be able to be rise to the next world and will therefore be stuck and left to rot for the rest of existence, this was her concern. Antigone has to make a decision here between what the law of mankind calls for or the immortal law of all existence that has created the earth and heavens, or more importantly mankind. She takes it upon herself that the better choice is to listen to the gods’ law and bury her brother because that is more important so he can live forever in the world to come. This goes hand and hand to what Saint Augustine says about evil that isn’t caused by god. “On the other
In Antigone written by Sophocles and translated by David R. Slavitt, Antigone decides to risk her own life to be able to bury her brother in a respectful way in which she thinks is right. Antigone had an enthusiastic determination about it, approached it without regret, and also choose her destiny and her sisters. Her father’s fate was a big affect on if she was going to precede with burying her brother or to no give him the respect like the rest of the surrounding community. Even though Antigone risked her whole life and her entire future she made the right decision by burying her brother and sticking to her own judgment.
That is backed up by Antigone saying, "Never, I tell you, if I had been the mother of children or if my husband died, exposed and rottingI'd never have taken this ordeal upon myself, never defied our people's will. What law, you ask, do I satisfy with what I say? A husband dead, there might have been another. A child by another too, if I had lost the first. But mother and father both lost in the halls of Death, no brother could ever spring to light again"(Fagles1471). This statement proves the real reason Antigone chose to go through with this act, and that is that she could never have another brother. This adds a more human-like quality to Antigone, who before seemed almost godly, because she was unafraid of everything. We can now sympathize more with her. Her fear of death is even more apparent when she says, "I go to them now, [her dead family] cursed, unwed, to share their homeI am a stranger! O dear brother, doomed in your marriageyour marriage murders mine, your dying drags me down to death alive!"(Fagles1469-70). We can see that she is scared, now that death is approaching her more closely, and that remark almost seems as if she is resentful that she had to carry out this duty. Earlier, when her sister Ismene, admitted to helping with the burial, Antigone became furious, saying, "Never share my dying, don't lay
Like Creon, Antigone also never falters in standing up for what she believes in. Although Creon fights for stubborn pride, Antigone is trying to promote what is right and shows her higher reverence for God’s law rather than for Creon’s laws. In the eyes of the townspeople, Chorus, Choragos, and Haimon, Antigone is sacrificing herself to give her brother Polyneices the rightful honors due to the dead. Many side with this brave, honorable girl because she would rather suffer persecution and even death rather than give into Creon’s illogical demands. In the play, the chorus says about her, “You have made your choice, Your death is the doing of your conscious hand”. Antigone knew of the consequences before she acted and in doing so she chose her fate. At the time, she pleaded her sister Ismene to help her bury Polyneices but was rejected. Despite being alone in trying to rebel and perhaps she may have been afraid, Antigone goes out of her way and puts her life on the line to bring her brother respect.
Antigone wants to be redeemed in the afterlife through her act of burying Polyneices. This is especially clear when she decides that she will bury him and die before she has even appealed to Creon. The only route she can see is one that results in her death. Not until she is directly confronted by her uncle does she attempt to dissuade him from dishonoring Polyneices. Even then, she seems to be simply defending her own actions rather than accusing him of being wrong, as she so adamantly has done with Ismene. He needs to implore her to “Speak!” (166, 442), and when she does, she is flippant and prideful. Antigone only engages in real dialogue with him when he forces her to. This could be interpreted as her simply understanding his position and accepting it, but I find that unlikely. She clearly fundamentally disagrees with him and his interpretation of the gods, but instead of trying to persuade him to recant his decree and bury her brother, she capitalizes on the position she’s in and thrusts herself into martyrdom. Even by the gods’ standards, this does not seem to be justice or “rightness”. Her surface level loyalty to her family may initially appeal, but I find it insincere and not right when I explore it more closely.
Antigone justifies her sedition by stating it is her duty to her family and the gods, claiming that the gods overrule a king’s ruling. Antigone believes that she has to give her brother the proper burial rights, and cannot even consider doing otherwise. As she says in the beginning, “I’ll do my duty to my brother—and yours as well, if you’re not prepared to. I won’t be caught betraying him.” Unlike Ismene, Antigone cares more about the soul of her dead brother than the voice of her uncle, the king. This makes sense since in those times, burial rites were extremely critical to a person’s afterlife. If not properly done, the soul wanders without peace for the rest of eternity since they could not pay to cross the river Styx. As a loyal sister, Antigone sees a crucial necessity to save her close family member of this cruel fate, despite the fact that he betrayed her nation. She does not see this action as worthy of an eternity of suffering, so she goes against the king’s unjust law. Now, she wouldn’t be willing to make this sacrifice for just anyone, for that would just be throwing her life away. Antigone chooses to sacrifice her life to “please the ones I’m duty bound to please.” This not only applies to her brother, but also to her beliefs.
Antigone chose to give her brother Polyneices a proper burial even though it was against the king’s law. She tried talking her sister Ismene to join her on her quest because Polyneices was both of their brothers, but Ismene did not want to disobey Kreon’s order (Blondell 19-24). This left Antigone to handle this on her own, which takes a lot of courage and dedication to what she believes in. Antigone went on with her plan to bury Polyneices and his body was eventually found by a guard (Blondell 30). When the guard brought the news to Kreon he was furious and the Chorus had suggested it was a Gods doing, which led me to believe that they did not think anyone one else was willing to risk it all by not listening to their kings orders (Blondell 32). A good lesson to learn from Antigone is that even if you break the law you have to admit your doing especially when you know what you did was morally right and what you stand for as an individual. When Antigone was accused of breaking the law and burying Polyneices she did not even hesitate saying, “I don’t deny it; I admit the deed was mine.” (Blondell 38). She even goes on to tell King Kreon that his choice to not allow the burial of Polyneices is morally wrong and how he is disobeying the God Zeus who is offended by improper treatment of a corpse (Blondell 38). Though Antigone knows the consequence for disobeying the king, she continues to fight for her brother’s honor and makes sure to point out the king’s foolish decision. Even in her last words she questions what kind of men can make suffer and then gives her respects to the town, gods, and rulers.
Creon's motivation for forbidding the burial of his own nephew Polyneices is because he fought over the throne of Thebes which was rightfully to be given to his brother who was next in line. He and his brother both killed each other which is why Polyneices brother is having a proper burial and Polyneices was left out in the wilderness. Creon would issue an edict that runs so contrary to his family obligations because he feels that if he allows this to happen within his family then it makes it acceptable for his citizens to get away with following the law.
Though this order was made, Antigone disregarded it and buried her brother. The main point for her doing this was to stand up for her religious beliefs, which she was then oppressed for. While she was being confronted by Creon about her actions, she said, “Nor could I think that a decree of yours—/A man—could override the laws of Heaven” (453-454). Antigone believed that it was the law of the gods for a person to have a proper burial so, she disobeyed Creon’s law in order to obey the gods, who she deemed as more important due to their eternal state (457).