Antigone And Romeo And Juliet Essay

2403 words - 10 pages

Compare/Contrast Antigone and Romeo and Juliet

There are many similarities and differences between Antigone by Sophocles and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The adults in both of the books have the difficult job of controlling the actions of the younger characters. Their decisions have a crucial effect on the outcome of the books, for the younger characters that they guide are the main figures in their stories. Antigone’s King Creon and Romeo and Juliet’s Prince Escalus and Lord Capulet share but also have unique strengths, weaknesses, leadership qualities, and crisis-managing techniques.

A specific strength of Creon, the major adult character in Antigone, is his ability to make his opinions known to the entire kingdom. One example of this is the major decision that is the focus of the entire story. After Antigone’s brother, Polyneices, died in battle against his own kingdom, Creon told the citizens of the land that no one was to bury the traitor. The king felt that the strict edict was necessary because Polyneices “broke his exile to come back with fire and sword against his native city. (193)” Creon knew that a traitor to the kingdom should not be honored with the same ceremony given to one who fought for his own kingdom.

The Prince in Romeo and Juliet was also very opinionated. He threatened death to both the Capulets and Montagues if there was any more fighting between the two families. He described the issue by saying that the fights had “disturbed the quiet of our streets (I,i,91).” He did not favor the fighting and declared “on pain of death all men depart (I,i,103)” to the two houses at his speech’s conclusion after the third brawl. The Prince remained assertive throughout the book, including the fourth fight involving both the Capulets and the Montagues. Because Romeo had killed Tybalt in the sword fight, the Prince decided to banish him so that no more fighting would occur.

Lord Capulet also had very strong opinions in Romeo and Juliet, which he clearly stated to his family. Since he was the head of the Capulet house, his orders were expected to be followed. Capulet expected his daughter, Juliet, to obey the rules set in place. He made sure that his child would be married to the County Paris by saying, “She shall be married to this noble earl (III,iv,21)” Capulet was certain that his wish would be followed by his daughter.

Another strength exhibited by Creon was that although the realization came too late in the book, he understood his judgments were wrong in the end. The king decided to release Antigone after talking to his prophet, Teiresias. As he was visiting the cell in which Antigone was imprisoned, he saw that both Antigone and his son, Haimon, had committed suicide. Upon seeing them dead and after learning that his wife had also died, Creon realized, “I have been rash and foolish./I have killed my son and my wife. (238)” This showed that Creon had realized that their deaths were because of his edict and his...

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