In the play Antigone by Sophocles, there is no clear protagonist, however Antigone is arguably the main character of the whole story. The most obvious reason for this is that the play is named after her. This makes it clear that even if Antigone isn’t the protagonist, she is still one of the main characters.
Another reason that Antigone is the protagonist of the play is that she causes the result of the play. Now, arguably you could say that Creon caused the events of the play because he made it illegal to bury Polyneices. With that view point, you could also argue that Polyneices caused everything because he attacked Eteocles for the throne, and so on. That being said, if Antigone had listened to Ismene and made the decision to let Polyneices be and not go against Creon’s wishes, she would (probably) not have died. In the play, the Messenger says,
“She [Eurydice] stabbed herself at the altar, then her eyes went dark, after she’d raised a cry for the noble fate of Megarus, the hero killed in the first assault, then for Haemon, then with her dying breath she called down torments on your head–you killed her sons.” (p. 126)
Because Eurydice killed herself over her son’s death, and Haemon killed himself in part due to Antigone’s capture and death, this means Antigone created a domino effect of Haemon and Eurydice dying just by killing herself. Because Antigone caused the result of the play, she played a big role in it and was therefore in a lot of the scenes.
Antigone is in many of the scenes, and when she isn’t, she is still a topic of discussion among other characters. For example, in the beginning of the play, Antigone speaks with Ismene for six pages before the Chorus speaks, and then Creon comes into the scene. Although Antigone isn’t physically in this scene with Creon, Creon’s sentry enters the building and begins telling him about how someone (Antigone) buried Polyneices, “The body–someone’s just buried it, then run off… sprinkled some dry dust on the flesh, given it proper rites.” (p. 71). From this quote we can see that although Antigone isn’t physically in this particular scene, she is still being talked about and is affecting what happens in the play.
In conclusion, Antigone is the main character of the play because it is named after her, she causes the result of the story and is in a large part of the play.
5 thoughts on “Antigone Personal Response – Who is the Main Protagonist?”
Good job Cameron! I like how you used evidence in the text to create an understanding of why things happened. However, your use of the domino effect can be traced to long before Antigone decided to bury Polyneices. It could be traced back two when Oedipus married his mother to birth Antigone, or before that even to when Jocasta and Laius decided to desert Oedipus. Also your response is 415 words. All in all good response.
Hi Coen, I agree that the events of Antigone could trace back to Oedipus. However, the play Antigone started after Oedipus and even after Polyneices and Eteocles, so arguably, the events that happen before Antigone (the play) aren’t relevant to whether or not Antigone caused the results of the play. That being said, you can say that about a lot of things. For example, I could argue that you posting this comment on the blog is just a cause of the big bang, because without it, you never would have posted the comment. You could say the same thing for Antigone, and that if the universe was never created she would never have caused the result of the play. Therefore, it is logical to me that Antigone–despite the events that happened before her actions in the play– still caused the result of the play.
Hi Cameron, I agree with your point about everything that happens is a result of something prior, which is the point I was attempting to make. And although it seems as if Antigone caused everything that happened there will always be an event which preceded what Antigone (or anyone does or has done) that will fully determine the outcome of any one given thing.
Great job, Cameron! I can’t entirely agree with you, and I think that Creon was the main character. Just because Antigone is the play’s name, in my opinion, does not make her the main character. However, I like hows you supported what you said about Antigone being the protagonist. Specifically, I liked your questions directly from the text that supported your opinion really well and in a very effective way.
Hi Amira, I agree that just because Antigone is the play’s name she it doesn’t make her the protagonist. I only argued that it would make sense she is at least one of the main characters because of it, and backed my assertion with other evidence. It is a difficult topic because it isn’t completely clear. Thanks, Amira!
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