Antigone


Pride is part of what makes Antigone heroic. Pride is a complex and multifaceted concept in Greek tragedy. Sophocles made this tragedy a complete entity in itself, which made it dramatic. Sophocles illustrated the rival claims of the state and the individual conscience. Antigone has the burning desire to honor her brother Polyneices and sacrifices her life out of devotion to principles higher than human law. Antigone’s rebellion is especially threatening because it upsets gender roles and hierarchy. She walks into her fate with her eyes open all along the way.


Aristotle’s poetics applied to “Antigone” through moving the audience’s emotions by having painful circumstances strike those that are either friends or related to each other, blood relations. This is between Antigone and Polyneices. Now any speech or action that manifests moral purpose of any kind will be expressive of character: the character will be good if the purpose is good. This rule is relative to each class. Even a woman may be good, and also a slave, though the woman may be said to be an inferior being, and the slave quite worthless (Aristotle.Poetics 15).


Antigone has learned her brothers’ Polyneices and Eteocles have killed each other in battle and King Creon has decided to bury Eteocles with military honor. Her brother Polyneices, “who fought as bravely and died as miserably” (Prologue.16) will not be buried, “but his body must lie in the fields, a sweet treasure for carrion birds to find as they search for food” (Prologue.21-22).


Antigone will not stand for such disgrace made upon her brother Polyneices, she will bury him with love and passion, “Creon is not strong enough to stand in my way”(Prologue.35).


Antigone is loyal to her beliefs and puts the laws of the gods ahead of laws of the states.


“But I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy: I shall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as he to me” (Prologue.55-58).


Antigone doesn’t mind doing anything on her own. In the beginning of the story when Antigone is talking to her sister Ismene, she asks for help. When Ismene refuses she is furious with her. “ And now you can prove what you are: a true sister, or a traitor to your family (Prologue.26-27), he is my brother, and he is your brother too” (Prologue.33). That is where Ismene insists that she will not take the risk of her life to honor her brother Polyneices.


Antigone is extreme and will not listen to the reasoning of her sister Ismene. Antigone has no problem working by her self either. She demonstrates this when she slipped by all the guards that were protecting the dead body of Polynecies. “ I am not afraid of the danger; if it means death, it will not be the worsts of deaths- death without honor” (Prologue.80-81).


When Antigone is caught for her actions and brought to confront Creon she confesses the illegal act she has committed. “I do. I deny nothing” (Scene II.52). Antigone does not fear anything in this situation, she did it all for the respect of her brother and she has no fear in the consequences that lie ahead of her. “This death of mine is of no importance; but if I had left my brother lying in death unburied, I should have suffered. Now I do not” (SceneII.69-72).


Antigone has no shame in voicing out her opinion to Creon and she will make sure her voice is heard. “I should have praise and honor for what I have done. All these men here would praise me were their lips not frozen shut fear of you. Ah the good fortunes of kings, licensed to say and do whatever they please!” (Scene II.98-102).


Antigone is a threat and invokes divine law as defense for her actions. In her position are faith and the powers of her individual conscience. Antigone and her values are her first priority and will let nothing stand in her way. I think Creon feels he must defeat Antigone because she is a woman. In all actuality Creon has lost his battle and Antigone can claim victory with the gods she is now in the presence