Antigone: Death after death

We are introduced to the play with the brave and fearless Antigone, Oedipus’ daughter. We are able to contrast these traits back and forth in this play, as we see how she turns Creon’s world upside down as soon as the story begins. Why would she do such a thing? Why would she rebel against the higher authority? Why does she not care about the consequences? These questions have a simple answer, yet to understand them is what is considered to be complicated: her beliefs. Antigone believed that her brother Polynices deserved to be buried with dignity and honor, such as any other citizen had the right to, no matter what questionable things they did while they were alive.

Antigone is a wild spirit. She does not care if her sister Ismene disagrees with her actions, she does not care if Creon tries to kill her, she does not care if she is exposed to the whole kingdom of Thebes. She, deep down, knows that if people were not scared to speak up due to Creon’s power, they would side with her.  Haemon’s support for Antigone is the evidence for this inference, and he believes in her so strongly he ends up dying for her. These two were the original tragic lovers, the ones we see later on in Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”.

Death, death, and more death. That is one of the main topics that this play made emphasis on. Antigone shows certain signs early on in the play that she does not want to live. She has no motivation to fight for her life, and, in fact, is looking for a reason to go to the world of the dead. She openly talks about this with Creon, when she is accused of committing the crime of burying her own brother.

Speaking of Creon, I believe he is an intriguing character. Sophocles tries humanizing Creon over and over again, making us empathize with the hardships he has gone through in the span of his life. Almost at the end of the play, we can see the contrast between him and Oedipus; what makes them different. Creon does listen to Terisias, although he did it too late, and the consequence of his pride was the loss of his wife, son, and niece. I was not that fond of Creon due to the way he talked about women, saying they were weak and did not deserve to be in a power position. My opinion slightly changed after I read everything Creon had lost because of his ignorance, I empathized deeply with him, as I felt that he did not deserve to go through that much grief, he is a human after all.

Antigone is an ancient story that is extremely valuable to the actual world and society because it mirrors the issues we are currently facing. Sexism and abuse of power are relevant topics to this day. Men still feel uncomfortable around outspoken women and try to silence them. Powerful politicians weaponize fear against their citizens to keep them in control and with their mouths shut. On the other hand, philosophically speaking, there is this ongoing debate on free will. I remember in class we talked about how our brain controls us sometimes; how chemicals in our brain affect our actions and reactions; how, even if they do control us, we need to be held accountable for them. If I were to read the story again, I know I would find even more things to dissect and reflect upon. This play is truly a masterpiece we should never forget and always go back to once in a while.

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