In Sophocles play, Antigone, tell us the fate of the main character by choosing what is morally right, or to follow the law of the state. In the play, Antigone brother, Polyneices dies in a war between him and his brother Eteocles. He was considered a traitor to the Theban people, and will not receive a proper burial ordered by the King, Kreon. Antigone believing that Kreon decree is unjust, took the matter into her own hands and buried her brother Polyneices. She is then taken to the king, defending her stance of burying her brother. She uses her speech in defense of her action. In her speech, she uses hints, expression, and peculiar sentence arrangement to make her argument more effective.
In Antigone speech, she put into consideration to her audience to make it more powerful.
One of these audiences is Kreon the current king of Thebes. He questions her defiance against the state law. In the text, Kreon states, And still your dared to violate the law? in which Antigone responds I deny that your edicts since you a mere man, imposed them (Antigone 718 Line 486 492). This shows that the argument is directed towards King Kreon. The other audience is the people of Thebes. In the play, the chorus is the representation of the citizen of Thebes. They are present when the Kreon is speaking, including the argument scene between him and Antigone. So, then Antigone form her argument to appeal the emotion and the mindset of the citizens.
Antigoner’s has a main purpose during her speech which is focused on the two audiences, Kreon and the citizens of Thebes. In remarks to Kreon, Antigoner’s intention is to convey that even after being caught, she does not fear his power, and her soon to be punishment. Her motive was to show him the humanity in her action, and the transgression of her beliefs. To show this, she refers to her death as insignificant because it is a straightforward result to what she thinks is a humane action.
In the text, she says, my own death isnt going to bother me, but I would be devastated to see my motherr’s son die and rot unburied (Antigone 718 Line 503). In the second half of her statement, shows that her morality, not Kreon law, have control over her actions, emotion, and commitment to her faith. The other purpose is to gain sympathy from the citizen of Thebes. She wants the citizen to see who is really at fault here, not her but Kreon. She makes inferences to generally understand the idea, for example, the power of Gods over the power of man. This is to remind the people about their religious integrity when considering the current situation.
In support of Antigone argument, she appeals to the morals and emotion of the audiences. She starts off her speech by defending her action with hints to God. Which she uses this to appeal the Thebans beliefs by saying that Kreon laws dont agree with the ideas expressed by the Gods, meaning she does not have to abide by that law. In the text, she says, I did it. It wasnt Zeus who issued me this order. And Justice who lived below was not involved. They never condone it! (Antigone 718 Line 486-490). Antigone wanted to show the people that the gods would have wanted her brother Polyneices soul to pass on to the afterlife, even with a traitorous status. She also says that the will of gods is to be complete forever, no matter what man run man rules Thebes. She says Their laws are not ephemeral, they werent made yesterday, and they will last forever (Antigone 718 Line 493-494).
This statement is to remind the citizen that their morals are not indirect, as they are consistent. She uses this for Polyneicesr’s right to burial in the eyes of the Gods. Antigone then uses emotion to gain sympathy from her audience. In order for her to do this, she mentions the unfortunate circumstances of her past. She tells the audiences of death that is around her whole life. Antigone gives refers to the murder of her father, her mother committing suicide, and now both brothers Polyneices and Eteocles who recently died in the war. She uses death as a plague upon her family and that her death is just another set for that plague. Toward Kreon this statement supports Antigone by showing she does not fear death, and to the audience, the statement is to gain pity and their sympathy. It is as if she is trying to convince them that she deserved to live since she accepts death.
In Antigoner’s point of view of the whole situation is important to know considering the strength of argument. She stands by on her belief and defends her decision on burying her brother as the right choice. Her morals and past experienced help shape this view. She has a strong mindset of family loyalty as play the goes on. This shows through all of her actions, by illegally burying her brother. She also has a constant displeasure towards Kreon, mainly because he assumed the throne after her father died. These experiences may have helped shaped her attitude towards Kreon apart from her discontent with the law.
Antigone uses devices such as indirect references and reiteration of words, to help increase the strengthen her argument. The most common indirect references are her to speak to their Gods. She refers to the gods to having the ultimate power of any human being even kings. This is one the effective device to use because of the religious belief of the Theban. This will make her audience consider boundaries between the laws of man and the law of Gods.
Knowing that the Theban has a strong religious background, to help her ensure that her speech reaches into their belief to make them think. Hinting at their religion help strengthen her argument to be more persuasive. Antigone also reiterates some words and ideas to help support her argument. The most repeated idea in the play is death. She implemented the idea of death that is around her life, telling them that her death is not important in the current situation. This idea is used to gain sympathy from the people of Thebes. It is also used against Kreon to show that his law, and not Antigone is the one at fault in the current situation. The devices she uses in her general argument help make it more persuasive.
In conclusion, Antigone used her persuasiveness to support her argument when defending her action against Kreon. She uses her morals, belief, and her past life to create a strong argument for the burial of her brother. Though, she was unable to convince Kreon to stop her punishment. She managed to get the citizen on her side that she was right in her actions. She ended up hanging herself in a cave, and after many, more people have died such as Kreon son and wife. Kreon then reflected towards the end of the play and finally realizes Antigone action and words though it is too late for him to repent.
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