After reading Antigone, I’ve especially sympathised with the dilemma of Antigone and Ismene, and wondered about the tragedy that occured to Creon.
Antigone insisted on burying the body of Polynices by risking her own life, whereas Ismene rather chose to obey Creon’s order (even though she runs back to Antigone afterwards). Polynices’ reason to attack Eteocles was in fact fair: after Oedipus’ death they agreed to rule the country year after another, but since Eteocles refused to step down from the first year Polynices started to attack him. Therefore, if I was in position of Antigone (his family member), I would feel that it’s part of my duty to bury my brother even if I’ll die as a consequence. Also, by burying Polynices she’ll gain everlasting glory: which was very important quality back then. So by gainig comfort of burying her brother and also personal glory, Antigone could have chosen to give up her own life.
However, I also sympathise with Ismene’s decision since it’ll still be hard to risk one’s own life: especially in Greek culture. It was believed that people had no afterlife beyond death, so to Antigone and Ismene the life they lived was the only chance to explore the world, meet various people and live a happy life. It’ll be really hard to give up those chances in exchange for the Polynices’ glory who’s already dead.
Furthermore, I was also interested in the tragedy of Creon. Creon made Polynices’ death disgraceful even though he had righteous reason to attack Eteocles. I’ve heard that the best way of giving one torture is not to curse or kill the one but to cause misfortune to happen to one’s family or close people. In that way, the successive death of Antigone, Haemon and Eurydice can be seen as the ultimate punishment given to Creon. Tiresias also implicitly warned Creon that misfortune will happen to him; I believe this is because Creon glorified Eteocles’ death, who broke toe promise and didn’t give throne back to Polynices, and disgraced Polynice’s death, who stood up against his brother who broke the promise. Creon didn’t want to kill Antigone in the first place, but his wrong decision to k ill people who buries Polynices’ body and treat Polynice’s body, who shares blood with him, as that of an enemy, seemed to have angered the God and caused tragedy to happen. But I still thought that tragedy was too much for what Creon has done: there could have been other ways to acknowledge him of his sin and persuade him to change his thoughts, but it just ended up by destroying three innocent lives.
Overall, I thought that the story of Antigone was didactic and interesting: it taught me of the dilemmas of our lives, and encouraged me to make personal judgement towards the validity of tragedy that happened to Antigone, Haemon, Eurydice and finally Creon. And even though the general plot is made clear, I still hope that I can understand the part of the Chorus and their roles. ( I didnt understand the Chorus most of the time!)