The Tragedy Of Sophocles' Antigone Essay

969 words - 4 pages

The Tragedy of Antigone

 In the story of Antigone, Oedipus has already died, his two sons. Polyneices and Eteocles, left to contend for the throne of Thebes. In their contention for the throne, the two brothers slay one another, leaving Creon once again to be the acting regent of Thebes. With this power, Creon declares that Polyneices must be left to rot on the battlefield, the highest disgrace to any Greek. Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, is left torn between state of family, and in the end, chooses family over state. Disregarding Creon's edict with grave danger to herself, Antigone ventures to bury the body of Polyneices, and thus begins her adventure. Antigone is truly a tragic hero, marked by her station as son of Oedipus, and her proud and perhaps arrogant characteristics which will lead to her eventual, inevitable, tragic ending. At the start of her tale, Antigone is the daughter of royalty, but more then that, a daughter of a horrible tragedy: through an unwitting horror story, her father, Oedipus, was also her brother, as Oedipus was married to his mother before she killed herself upon discovering the truth. Before his death, Oedipus had blinded himself, adding to the tragedy. However, Antigone's own tragedy was still unfolding. Through her proud and unrelenting character, Antigone is determined to give her brother a rightful burial, despite Creon's edict.

At first Antigone seeks the help of her sister, Ismene, but when she realizes the fear and submissive attitude Ismene possesses, Antigone disregards it as even an option, another example of perhaps Antigone's tragic flaw, her own arrogance. As the tale continues, Antigone does indeed bury her brother, but is caught by Creon. In doing so however, she wins the support of the people of Thebes with her selfless actions for the sake of her family. Creon, despite the counsel of several people, including his own son, feels that regardless of the people's opinion, Antigone must be executed for her "traitorous actions". This is self evident in an exchange between Creon and his son Haemon, who was in love with Antigone and slated to marry her: (Creon): "So this creature is no criminal, eh?" (Haemon): "The whole of Thebes says "no." (Creon): "And I must let the mob dictate my policy?" (Haemon): "See now who is speaking like a boy!" (Creon): "Do I rule this state, or someone else?" (Haemon): "A one man state is no state at all." Thus the plot thickens, and the tragedy begins to develop as Antigone's actions have achieved her the respect of the common man, but is unquestionably soon to bring her downfall.

Eventually, after Creon meets with the prophet Tiresias, Creon realizes his mistake; realizes how he will suffer if he incorrectly passes judgment upon Antigone. However, for him, it is too late. When he goes to free Antigone, Antigone has already killed...

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