“The penalty- stoning to death in the public square (Sophocles 24-25).” This is the edict (almost like a law) declared by Kreon. This edict basically states that anyone who dares to bury Polyneices would be declared a traitor to the city of Thebes. Antigone, the main character, ends up breaking this rule to give her brother a proper burial and becomes portrayed as a hero. Greek tragedies are infamous for displaying common emotions that not many are used to sharing, which are shared throughout the stories characters. This tactic helps shape the theme and moral of the story while also portraying something that the audience can latch onto.
The characters Antigone, Ismene, Kreon, Haemon, and Eurydice fight for social order and the morality that is evident in the play while unfolding the true intentions which relate back to present day situations. All in all, Kreon was the most culpable person for the death of Antigone due to his object of ambition for social order, while Antigoner’s main objective was for her moral purpose. Hence, the relation to Antigone being a positive figure for the French revolution in an up rise. As any reader progresses through this play, itr’s obvious that this is a work of tragedy that toys with ones heart.
According to Aristotle, The tragic hero is a character of noble stature and has greatness, he/she is not perfect, the heror’s downfall and it is partially his/her own fault, and the heror’s misfortune is not wholly deserved. Antigone is portrayed as a tragic hero because even as a upper class citizen she still to the chance with her life all for her brother. She is neither good or good, her story can be interpreted from two perspectives. Some sympathize with suffering and the fact that she was unjustly treated because of her gender. Others think she should have just listened to her sister and left it up to the Gods. Antigone being good or bad is left for the audience to decide. Pride ends up being her downfall, since that is her ambition to take on anything.
Furthermore, she also promises Polynices that she will give him a proper burial before he is killed, but I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy (55-56), but Kreon will punish anyone who buries him by the penalty of death. In ancient Greece, leaving bodies unburied would angers the Gods. When Antigone goes to bury her brother despite the law in place, it shows that she is self-sacrificing. She knows her life is soon to come to an end for this burial. This shows her loyalty to her family and the gods. In correlation to Antigoner’s sister Ismene, they are polar oppisites. When Antigone shared the news about the decreed with her, her first response was, No, I have heard nothing (344). Ismene reveals how acquiescent she is in relation to Kreonr’s decree.
Thus, she is portrayed as feminine, one who doesnt care about political affairs. Doubting the her sisters plan to go against the edict, Ismene argues: We who are women should not contend with men; we who are weak are ruled by the stronger, so that we must obey. (346) She is being a realist; knowing the plan is almost impossible and will result in punishment, she thinks the situation is hopeless. Her character correlated to the emotion of sympathy and seemed more so scared. Haemon is Antigoner’s fiance and son of King Kreon, he is also Antigoner’s first cousin. The moral basis of Antigoner’s actions are defended by Haemon while still warning his father that the citizens Thebes will commiserate with Antigoner’s single-mindedness to give a proper burial to Polyneices. Haemon and Kreon angrily go separate ways, as he continuously asks his father to do the right thing for their city.
Although, his father is aloof, he is resistant to any change. Haemon’s adherence to Antigone is wholesome; when she passes, he becomes so fraught that he attempts to kill his father and commit suicide. They contrast in their commitments and priorities. Haemon prioritizes people’s feelings, therefore considering love and peace important. Furthermore, Eurydice; Kreon’s wife and Haemon’s mother is distraught by her son’s suicide. She then commits suicide herself, while cursing Kreon for causing the death of their son. Eurydice adds to the stories tragedy aspect. She is considered the last punishment for the king. Lastly, among the characters there lies King Kreon. Kreon is the monarch of Thebes. While his city is in conflict, he prioritizes order and loyalty above everything else. He doesnt tolerate being repudiated, or seeing the laws of the state be repudiated.
He let Polyneices’ body be marred while Eteocles is honored in his death because he feels that one brother cannot have more respect than the other when one was a traitor and the other was loyal to him and his state. He does not take the time or effort to recognize that there are other configurations of justice. Instead of setting his pride aside , he chastised Antigone, disregards the gods, and ultimately ruins his rule and his name . King Kreon was the main cause of Antigone, Haemon, and Eurydicer’s deaths. Kreon was the one who declared the edict that wouldnt allow a proper death for Antigoner’s brother. Even after his own son, Haemon, told him that majority of the city of Thebes is supporting Antigoner’s cause, Kreon still chose to punish Antigone. Punishing her set all of their deaths in motion. Antigone killed herself in her cell. Haemon then followed and Eurydice, killed herself after learning that her son committed suicide. Eurydice even proclaimed that both of their deaths would be on Kreon. Moreover, in Antigone social order very much exists. Kreon was a person with a certain magnitude of power, which he used to his advantage while fight for social order.
However, Antigoner’s intention was to fight for the moral purpose of her brother having a proper burial. Antigone was a representation of an uprising during the French revolution because many people were scared to fight back even though they had the reason to. The fight for social order related back to the laws established and enforced, while morality was something acquired and chosen to embrace. One of the main themes captured in Antigone, is the stance Antigone finds/ places herself in. She has to choose between the law of her state or the law by the gods (which say her brother should be properly buried). The modern day comparison to events in the play and events in real life is uncanny. Should people who are living in countries with resisting forces, where laws are higher than any moral value, obey their laws or heart. For example; all German citizens under the Third Reich? Should they have been on the side of the Nazis even though they were going against their moral values and live a life with regret?
Or should they have helped the Jews and risked ending their life and their families along with theirs. Do people who are against a war, pay the federal taxes that go towards helping that war or do they risk being deported? There are many more situations that correlate to these ideas. The significance found in my observations and recordings led me to believe that Greek tragedies are a unique way of expressing present day emotions and situations in a dramatic and entertaining way, which also sympathizes with the audience and helps them correlate to their own emotions. Antigone specifically is a multiplex play, one that disregards basic understanding and interpretation. It is an interpretation of humans representing complex emotions through their actions. Every single character represents an idea, a principle of morals, and the play concludes as a discussion continued by the audience.
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