Greek Myths Essay, Research Paper
?If they only Knew?
When two people have an uncompromisible difference in opinion they are forced to become enemies. Sophocles illustrates this in the tragedy Antigone through the main characters, Antigone and Creon. Antigone, King Oedipus?s daughter, has come back to Thebes after king Creon has put her two brothers Polyneices and Etocles to death. After being killed only one brother is given a proper burial, the other one, Polynecius, is left out to be ?chewed up by birds and dogs (page 168 line 225).? Creon is adamant about not allowing Polyneices, a traitor to Thebes to have burial rights. He warns that acts against his decision will pay a price. Since Antigone believes Creon is making a decision that belongs to the gods, she buries Polynecius herself. Their actions past and present have been the building blocks for their relationship. Since Creon hates women and Antigone does not fear Creon, like others, and because Antigone buried Polynecius, Antigone and Creon are enemies.
Antigone, a woman, ignored Creon?s authority knowing the repercussions that she would face, and buried Polynecies. Throughout the story Creon shows a disliking for women. “So we must stand on the side of what is orderly; we cannot give victory to a woman. If we must accept defeat, let it be from a man; we must not let people say that a woman beat us.” Creon stands boldly, never allowing a woman to shake him. “While I am alive no woman shall rule.”
Creon is infuriated by Antigone because she is woman and unafraid of him. Creon is a tyrant, one who uses exercises authority power or control. The citizens of the Thebes, such as the Sentry are scared of Creon. He is scared for his life as he deliverers the news that the body is missing. When he is finished he says, “–one thing is certain, you’ll never see me here again. I never hoped to escape, never thought I could. But now I have come off safe, I thank god heartily? The sentry shows the same freight while speaking about the capture of Antigone, “When we came there with those dreadful threats of yours upon us..” Antigone is aware that the citizens of Thebes are scared of their king, yet she is not. “So my words, too, naturally offend you. Yet how could I win a greater share of glory that putting my own brother in his grave? All that are here would surely say that’s true, if fear did not lock their tongues up.” Creon disagrees in saying “You are alone among the people of Thebes to see things in that way.” Antigone replies, “No these do, too, but keep their mouths shut for the fear of you.” Creon has met someone that is not only not scared of him but points out that he rules his people by making them fear him.
His threats have no effect on her decision to bury her brother. Ismene says “You are so headstrong. Creon has forbidden it.” To this Antigone replies “It is not for him to keep me from my own.” Ismene suggests that if she is to bury Polynecius that she keeps it under wraps. Antigone wants everyone to know what she has done; she is not scared of Antigone. “Oh, oh, no! shout it out. I will hate you still worse for silence-should you not proclaim it, to everyone.” Her confidence and lack of respect for Creon is displayed in there one on one encounters, she hides nothing from the king.
You there, that turn your eyes upon the ground, do you confess or deny what you have done? Yes, I confess; I will not deny my deed… Now Antigone, tell me shortly and to the point, did you know the proclamation against your action? I knew it; of course I did. For it was public (Antigone pg 177-178 lines486-492).
Creon believes that Polynesius has offended Thebes and deserves no burial at all. “I here proclaim to the city that this man shall no one honor with a grave and none shall mourn. You shall leave him without burial; you shall watch him chewed up by the birds and dogs and violated?. Antigone on the other hand, has heard how Antigone feels about Polynecius but does not let it push her off her path. She is going to give her brother what she feels he deserves, no matter what the presumable consequences may be. “I myself will bury him. It will be good to die, so doing. I shall lie by his side, loving him as he loved me; I shall be a criminal-but a religious one. Antigone believes that the gods are the only ones that should decide the fate of the dead.
It was not Zues that made the proclamation; nor did Justice, which lives with those below, enact such laws as that, for mankind. I did not believe your proclamation had such power to enable one who will someday die to override God’s ordinances, unwritten, and secure. They are not of today and yesterday; they live forever; none knows when they first were. These are the laws whose penalties I would not incur from the god’s, through fear of any man’s temper (Antigone pg178 lines 494-504)
Creon is making decisions that are not in his mortal right to make. They belong to a higher power; Creon thinks he is the highest power. ?Now here I am, holding all authority, and the throne, in virtue of kinship with the dead.? Antigone believes in divine will and Creon in human will.
Antigone cannot give up her love for her brother, the only love she has and Creon cannot give up his hate and give any repentance to her. Therefore their relationship cannot change and they are forever enemies.