Antigone is depicted in the play as a woman with high self-esteem who expect a great deal in life. Whether gainful or not Antigone revels human power in the political structure. Antigone sacrificed herself to die in order that Polynice may have honorable burial (Butler 28). Creon is also shown to be with high self-respect and valued his states more than his subjects.
Both Creon and Antigone were strong-willed. Creon stood his ground as a leader and discharged death penalty to his niece for defiling his rules. On the other hand, Antigone was obstinate for instance she declined to listen to her sister Ismene who cautioned her against contending with men. The adamancy of Creon is clearly displayed when he scoffs to his son Haiemon while pleading on behalf of Antigone and told him to stop before he made him choke. Evidently, both Creon and Antigone were rigid in their stance.
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In contrast, whereas Antigone was viewed by the villagers as a hero, as is evident from the praise poem Creon was seen as a tyrant (Butler 59). He did many things that were against the customs of the people and he did not honor family ties. This character is shown when he leaves Polynices’ body to be attacked by dogs and vultures. Antigone is also revealed as a martyr who was proud to die for the love she had on her brother and what she believed in. a good burial for a brother who was killed in a battle, people pitied her as they felt that she deserved a crown of gold for such an action.
Antigone valued the laws of the god, unlike Creon who saw his laws more important than the laws of the god’s. Antigone went to the tomb, a virgin and welcomed it as her bridal home only she had sought glory by setting her brother’s soul at peace in the realms of the dead (Butler 23).
The role of the gods
Gods in the Hellenic people were very influential for example Huris (a god). Although there were the crisis, the judgment of God to man play a major role in the events of the play especially in the battle between human and divine law. When a man died in Hellenic people, it was believed that there was a realm for the dead amongst the God’s and thus a dead person deserved a good burial as a way of transformation between the human and the God’s realm. Antigone proclaimed that it was a man’s right to burial decreed by divine justice. This was in response to the pronouncements by Creon against the burial of Polynices. She considered this pronouncement not to be so important to just overrule the unwritten laws of heaven.
By Creon leaving a dead body to be savaged by the beasts and punishing those that attempted to burry them, he clearly was fighting against the God’s, a fight he declare at the end that he was bitten in when he lost his son and wife and begged for someone to take him indoors. The chorus of the villagers espouses the viewpoint that “God and the government ordain just laws: the citizen who rules his life by them is worthy of acclaim.” (Butler 7). This viewpoint shows that gods held the supreme authority and they were able to bless or to curse. As a matter of fact, the chorus proclaimed that the greater the arrogance of a person the heavier was God’s revenge. In other words, God was in the process of avenging no wonder the unfolding of the events as they did. For instance, Oedipus’ sin had led to the death and lack of a good burial to his son as well as haunting his daughter Antigone.
According to the Thebe people it is consequential that the God’s had divinity laws that they effected. The laws either resulted to blessings or curses. Therefore the Gods had their stake in the events of death and burial of Oedipus, Haemon and Eurydice.
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Antigone a “feminist icon” and Creon a “sexist and misogynist”
Antigone has been a famous feminist icon of defiance for long. King Creon ordered against any rites of funeral or burial of Polynices’ corpse, declaring that whosoever would touch it was to be stoned to death. Even though Antigone knew this, in her dialogue with her sister she defiled all that the king had said and declared to burry her brother. She was so solid on her conscious feelings towards her brother that she was glad to meet death as she continued claiming when her sister pestered her to refrain from disobeying the king. Antigone showed her sister Ismene indignation when she rejected her daring tenacity. She later rejected her when Ismene repented about her weakness. When her sister offered to accompany her to death, Antigone harshly refused.
It was Antigone who provoked the king with her pride to his act of tyranny. (Sophocles and Thomas 44) When Antigone was being led to the death, in the most touching wails and tenderness, she poured herself forth, yet she did not disdain although she was a modest virgin. Such are the ideal female character that makes her a feminist icon. The king announced his decree to the elders for the due funeral rites of Eteocles “who died fighting for the fatherland.” (Sophocles and Thomas 7). The king would not swallow his pride and let Antigone live even after the intercession of his son. The king was easily provoked by Antigone and he declared her death and he wouldn’t be moved by her feministic struggles. This depicts the king as sexist and misogynist.
Antigone the tragic hero and her tragic flaw
There are many people who argue on the identity of the tragic here in Antigone. For some people, the tragic hero is Antigone while others believe that Cleon is. There are so many reasons that attribute Antigen to be the tragic hero. Considering that the play is named after her then she can be claimed to be the tragic hero. Even though Cleon is seen as being the overall authority yet this does not give him popularity amongst the people.
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Moreover, the Family line of Antigen points out that she was a royalty. Her father Oedipus was the former king Thebes. The brothers to Antigen were Polynices and Eteocles who were supposed to be rulers but they died in a civil war. In the poem of the elders, the victor was the person who treasured love, was immortal and had kindled amongst them pride.they considered such a person a lord. The maiden (which figuratively represented Antigone) is likened to Aphrodite (a goddess of love). Antigen being a niece to king Cleon is another fact that she was a royalty.
It is with no doubt, that Antigone had a tragic flaw in that she had excessive pride. Her pride would not allow her to renounce her decision of burying Polynices. It was this pride that stirred the king to anger. The king ordered that she be led to the dungeon, she was to die there of starvation. She sang her dirge as she was being led to the dungeon of how she was towed and find the home in the tomb “her bridal chamber” (Sophocles and Thomas 43). Antigone is seen to be troubled by her uncle and she always acted loyally to her family. Antigone thus died as a martyr. Antigone fulfills all the characters of a tragic hero in that she was royal, she had a tragic flaw that led to her death and she is worthy of concern. She thus is the tragic hero of the play.