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November 13, 2017
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November 13, 2017
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Character Analysis of Antigone

Character Analysis of Antigone Antigone is an award winning play by Sophocles, one of the three best Greek dramatists of all time. Antigone is a mythical princess of Thebes. She is the product of the accidental incestuous marriage between King Oedipus and Jocasta, whom is Oedipus’ mother as well. Antigone had two brothers and a sister: Polynices, Eteocles, and her sister, Ismene. After Oedipus discovered that he had married his mother, he fled, leaving Thebes to be ruled by his sons. Polynices and Eteocles had their differences arguing over the throne.

Polynices left Thebes and returned with an army to declare war on Thebes. The two brothers killed each other during the war, leaving Thebes to be ruled by Jocasta’s brother Creon, also the father of Antigone’s fiance, Haimon. Creon gave a proclamation declaring Polynices a traitor to the state and people, and therefore should not be given the same rewarding burial that Eteocles receives. Polynices is to be left unburied. Antigone defied this law and buried her brother. Creon has sentenced her to death for her defiant actions. Antigone is a proud woman with a strong sense of duty to her family.

She believes she is unjustly judged by Creon, therefore death isn’t a concern for her, as she holds the gods’ moralities above mortal laws. The pride of Antigone is her tragic flaw. If she had been pliant and had conformed to the laws of Creon she would not have died. Antigone had a separate opinion on the matter and “she has never learned to yield” (II, 86). She was completely shameless in burying her brother and denied nothing. Actually, when her sister Ismene offered to keep Antigone’s actions a secret, Antigone thundered, “Oh tell it! Tell everyone” (Pro 76)!

She “dared” to defy Creon, and did not fear the consequences of her actions (II, 65). She even put her pride above Creon as she said, “Creon is not strong enough to stand in my way” (Pro, 36). What drives Antigone to perform her actions proudly is her strong sense of duty towards her family. The burial of her brother is something she believes she “must” do (Pro, 12 and 80). In spite of the risk of death, she acted on her love for her brother. She proudly said, “…. I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy: I shall lie down With him in death, and I shall be as dear

To him as he to me” (Pro, 57) Antigone believes her conviction and sentence of death is unjust. Antigone does not consider herself to be guilty. Antigone attempted to justify herself to Creon saying that, “There is no guilt in reverence for the dead” (II, 121). Haimon brought to the attention of Creon the whispers of the city, and even “they say no woman has ever, so unreasonably, died so shameful a death for a generous act” (III, 66). Antigone’s reminded Creon of the gods, and how his judgment and law is miniscule in contrast to that of the gods: “it was not god’s proclamation.

That final justice that rules the world below makes no such laws” (II, 66). Nevertheless, Creon did not show mercy at this point. Antigone, while underground, ended her own life. Creon reevaluated his decisions due to the words of a prophet, but was still too late, as Antigone had already taken the initiative to carry out Creon’s judgment on her. Antigone acted on what she believed to be right, even though it defied mortal laws, and even though her death was the price of doing what is right. Antigone’s pride, duty to family, and justness to her cause makes her an ideal example of what people should strive to be.