Antigone Essay, Research Paper
In the classic tragedy Antigone there are two main characters, Antigone and Creon. They are both strong willed and stubborn people. By their resistance to change, they both seal each other s fate. Antigone is passionate while Creon is full of rage. They are both so similar that they cannot see eye to eye. Although they may seem quite different Creon and Antigone share many similarities throughout the play.
Antigone and Creon are both very independent people. Antigone is willing to act on her own for something she believes in. Antigone pleas with her sister, Ismene, to help her bury their brother but she refuses to making Antigone furious. Antigone though is resolved to continue with her plan in defiance of Creon’s decree. Even facing the penalty of death, she risks her life for what she believes.
Creon is also very independently minded, and he refuses to accept the opinions of anyone but himself. When his son Haimon confronts him, he refuses to listen, claiming that Haimon is a “girl struck fool (216),” and Antigone has corrupted him. Even when faced with Teresias s prophecy, he refuses to believe the truth. He claims that Tortuous has been bribed, and that he sold out! (227)
Creon and Antigone both are very strong in their views. Creon is devoted to his laws, while Antigone is loyal to her beliefs. Creon refuses to give in and alter his law. He labels those who dare act against him as traitors, and his justice is quick and cruel.
Antigone, however, puts the laws of the gods ahead of the laws of the state. She gives her brother a proper burial and goes against Creon s decree. This shows her short-sightedness is because she only does what she thinks the gods want. Instead of abiding by the law that Creon sets. Creon is also shortsighted because he refuses to believe any other opinions or laws than his own.
Creon and Antigone are both so loyal which can also make them very extreme. Creon is an extremist in reason. He thinks his law is the most important. Antigone is an extremist of passion. Creon is unwilling to put the god’s law above his law. He is u unwilling to listen to the passionate pleas of his son to let Antigone live. Antigone is equally as extreme and she will not listen to the reasoning of her sister Ismene. Ismene reminds her of the problems and dangers she is undertaking when she goes out to bury Polyneices.
Since Creon and Antigone are very extreme in their ways this can also make them cruel and foolish people. Creon is quite cruel to everyone around him. He never once listens to anyone, but instead he acts foolishly and hurts everyone. Antigone is also cruel and foolish primarily to her sister Ismene. Ismene tries to help Antigone in the start of the play. When she
tries to tell Antigone not to risk everything to please the gods. Creon also is cruel to his old friend and prophet, Teiresias. Teiresias comes to warn him that if he does not free Antigone that bad things will occur, but Creon does not believe him. He claims that Teiresias has “sold out” as a prophet and shows how foolish he is not to trust a long-standing friend who has never been wrong.
Creon and Antigone are both plagued by hubris. Creon wants to stand by the law he has made. Antigone is willing to risk it all to stand by the law of the gods and what is right. Creon’s stubbornness is clear when his old friend and prophet Teiresias tells him to free Antigone. Creon stubbornly refuses and remarks to the old wise man, “Bribes are baser then any baseness”, he does not even listen to Teiresias, who made him king in the first place.. Antigone has equal hubris herself. She is so passionate on burying her brother that she will not listen to reason. Full of arrogance and indignation, she will not listen to the words of her sister. Ismene warned her of the dangers of burying their brother Polyneices but Antigone will not listen. She calls Ismene a “traitor” for not coming to help her and Ismene shakily replies, “I am so afraid of you”. Antigone, instead of listening to the common sense of her sister, snaps back that “You need not be: you have yourself to consider, after all”.
Creon and Antigone are both remarkably similar people. Ironically, they are both so much the same that they cannot see it. The flaws they share make neither of them willing to listen to the other. Many of their traits are identical, but their opinions are so different that they can’t stand each other. Sophocles did an excellent job in portraying the two vast extremes of the spectrum, passion and reason. This story hopefully proves to people that neither extreme passion nor extreme reason, but rather be in the middle and achieve ar te.