Polyneices Essay, Research Paper
Creon vs. Antigone in the burial of Polyneices
When King Oedipus learned that he lived his life under a curse, unknowingly killing his father and marrying his mother, he poked out his own eyes and dissappeared into exile. After Oedipus’ abandonment, toghether his sons Eteocles and Polyneices ruled Thebes. The two brothers eventually came to conflict, Eteocles banished his brother, and Ployneices attacked the city with an army outside of Thebes. During the battle the sons of Oedipus slew each other leaving the throne to Creon, who is next in blood. Creon has announced that Eteocles is to be buried with military honors. As for Polyneices he will recieve no such burial but instead will be left unburied. Antigone, one of the daughter’s of Oedipus and sister of Eteocles and Polyneices, decides she is going to bury her brother against the king’s wishes even though she is risking her life to do so.
King Creon’s decision not to properly bury Polyneices is because he feels he is a traitor to Thebes. This is due to the fact that he broke out of exile and attacked his own city with an army form outside of Thebes. King Creon says he is a coward to his city, not a hero, and therfore does not deserve to be buried with honor like his brother. He forbids the people of Thebes to touch him, to say a prayer for him, or to bury him, Anyone who goes against his commands will ultimately be put to death. Creon is speaking for the best interst of the state, not in terms of family. He feels that he has to set an example for his people to deter cowardly actions like Polyneices’ in the future.
Antigone, on the other hand, is determined to bury her brother. She feels that he fouth just as bravely and died just as miserably as Eteocles did, therefore should be buried as a man not as an animal left for the birds to pick on his dead body. She is also afraid that leaving his corpse unburied could possibly offend Zeus, which would bring to Thebes plague, curse, and aridness. Antigone feels that it will also prevent his heroic soul from entering the Elysian Fields, the residence of those favored by the gods. She is willing to risk her own life, replying that if it is a crime, it is a holy crime she is inclined to commit for his honor.
The story of Antigone is a conflict between state and individual, Creon the ruler of Thebes and Antigone, the sister of Polynecies. Creon has the task of protecting public interest and the future of the state. Antigone is faced with a higher moral order, that of the gods and of her own conscience. Creon refuses Polynecies to be bured with honor because of his strong belief that he has acted as a traitor to Thebes. Antigone is willing to risk her life so her brother can be given the proper burial she feels he deserves. Creon and Antigone both feel very strongly on what they think should be done and both are determined to do what they feel is right.