I think I can, relate to the dilemma faced by Antigoné emotionally, at least. She is in a position where she has to choose between her beloved brother or her kingdom, and she chooses her brother because she loves him more than she cares about Creon’s decree. I relate to her emotion-fueled decision because I would do the same if I were in her shoes, and I can understand why she would disregard Creon. Laying a family member to rest and honoring him in death is all Antigoné can do, whether or not he is a traitor to his kingdom. Above all, he was her family, and family comes first. I can relate to the feeling of needing to protect your family while others spit in their face.
The central problem of the play is Antigoné going against Creon’s royal decree to bury her brother, whom Creon wanted to remain rotting underneath the sun. I think Antigoné’s rights should assume priority because Polyneicés has already been punished for his crimes with his death, and he has already spent time rotting as Creon wanted. I do not think there is any way to resolve their competing claims because Antigoné is too stubborn in her commitment to her crime, and Creon cannot see past his pride and allow Antigoné and, as a result, Ismené — this one mercy. Neither one of these characters can possibly see past what blinds them until something tragic happens, such as Creon realizing his mistake in imprisoning Antigoné, only to arrive at her prison of stone and find her dead.
Sophocles characterizes Antigoné as brave and headstrong. She is not afraid to stand up to anyone, not even the king, for what she believes is right. When Creon confronts her about her crime, he says, “And yet you dared defy the law,” to which Antigoné boldly declares, “I dared./ It was not God’s proclamation. That final Justice/ That rules the world below makes no such laws.” She tries to protect her sister, Ismené, from Creon’s wrath because she would rather face punishment alone than have her share the same fate. She willingly accepts her death, not once protesting or begging to be saved. Creon, on the other hand, is characterized as selfish and harsh in his rule. He seeks to avenge his kingdom, above all and refuses to listen to anyone who dares to think differently than him. Even when his own son, Haimon, confronts him, he does not listen to reason. Instead, he becomes furious, claiming that his son has “sold out to a woman,” and he will not allow Haimon to marry Antigoné. He continues on with Antigoné’s punishment because he alone believes it will quench Thebes’ thirst for vengeance, only Betis consequences of his actions to come crashing down around him.
Haimon’s role in the play is to not only serve as Antigoné’s betrothed but, in doing so, he sets the plot in motion and paves way for the ending scene where he kills himself as a result of his father’s decisions and mistakes. His dialogue with his father reveals that Haimon no longer respects Creon because of his actions towards Antigoné, and Creon does not care about Haimon’s thoughts and opinions because he is stubborn and refuses to take orders or advice from anyone but himself. Their relationship is already fractured at this point and is destined to break, as seen when Creon says, “You’ll never marry her while she lives,” to which Haimon replies, “Then she must die.—But her death will cause another.” By sentencing Antigoné to a slow, lonely death in the tomb, he has also sentenced his son to death without realizing it.
The person whose values the play seems to endorse in the end is Antigoné’s. In the end scene of Antigoné, Creon repeats how terrible of a person he is for not handling the situation better i.e. “My own blind heart has brought me/ From darkness to final darkness,” “I was the fool, not you; and you died for me,” “I alone am guilty”. He was also going to save Antigoné from the tomb he sent her to because Teiresias opened his eyes to see that he is on the wrong pathy but he thought he could set it right by letting her go. Choragos claims that Creon was foolish in his decisions beforehand, saying that “there is no happiness where there is no wisdom… proud men in old age learn to be wise.”
Compared to his character and role in Oedipus Rex, Creon drastically changes in Antigoné. In the former play, Creon is accused of conspiring against Oedipus and seeking to take his place as king, to which he claims that he has no desire to be king: “I have never longed for the king’s power—only his rights.” He represents reason, telling Oedipus to “reason it out, as I have done.” However, he becomes quite the opposite in Antigoné. It is as if his power has tainted everything good in him. Instead of being a voice of reason, he becomes blind to reason, stuck on a dark path of vengeance. He fails to see how mad he has become because his power consumes him. In a way, he becomes exactly like Oedipus. Whereas Oedipus was blind in sight, unable to see the truth, Creon is blind in the heart, unable to empathize or have mercy towards the two sisters or their brother.
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