Antigone Personal Response – A lesson to be learned

Antigone by Sophocles was an enjoyable read for me. This story was dispersed with deep emotional losses that made me feel sorry and sad but also engaged within the story. The main reason for my sentimental sadness was because of how Antigone never had the chance to marry her fiancé Haemon, and how she must face death alone. I realized her whole family has lived for generations with a curse in their lineage and the fate of her whole family had to destroy everything for them. Sympathy goes to Antigone however, I really liked Antigone as the tragic hero of this story because she remains true both to the Gods and her brother. Although, she is faced with death, she refuses to go against either one, choosing to end her own life. Thus, she seals her testimony with her own blood and dies a tragic hero. I really respect and admire her bravery with her acts and how she faced her punishment with courage.

Antigone does not place herself in society. Rather than compromise her religious beliefs, she remains true to herself. Antigone is portrayed as a brave independent woman when nobody else supports her decision to bury Polynices. When it comes to burying Polynices herself, Antigone goes against Creon. The fact that the people of Thebes did not unite with Antigone could be seen as a factor to her downfall, even though they agreed with her. Despite this, Antigone does, and she willingly disobeyed Creon the King. This really makes me connect to the world and how it is different. Antigone believes in herself, her culture and the gods. She fought for what she believed, even if it may have costed her life. This motivates my courage in doing what I believe is right and how we all should too. Of course, not in the extreme measurement of possibly losing your life, but if we need a change and believe in it, we should act.

Antigone isn’t the only one in the play who stands alone. Creon also stands alone but in a different way. Even though the people of Thebes, except for Antigone, followed his law, they did not agree with it. The prophet Tiresias, who is never wrong, tells Creon that it is not a good idea to not bury Polynices and that it will anger the gods. Despite the wise advice from Tiresias, Creon still passes the law that states no one shall bury Polynices or mourn his death. He stands alone in this decision and is not willing to listen to the opinions of others. Not only is this a factor in Creon’s downfall but is also one in Antigone’s. Creon is portrayed as misogynistic, someone who thinks less of women. I can see why Crean is not praised like other characters in this book and that is largely based off what he says about women. Crean orders his slaves to take Antigone and Ismene inside: “[they] must be women now. / No more free running” (578-579), suggesting that freedom is absent from his definition of women.

Gender inequality with comparison to their specific expected roles in society were how men looked at women. I really would not want to live in the setting of this story based on the problems in the setting with femininity and sexism but also because of how I could get unlucky and also live in a prophecy. Despite the setting of this story, we can see many imageries when reading Antigone. An example would be when Antigone said; “She wailed out loud that sharp sound of bitterness a bird makes when she looks in her nest and it’s empty, it’s a widow’s bed in the baby chicks are gone” (515-518) Sophocles uses a metaphor and imagery to compare Antigone to a bird as well as to emphasize Antigone’s devotion to her brother.

Reading Antigone helped me think about things in a different way. Life finding the struggle of balance between being strong alone and being strong in a crowd. Both Antigone and Creon stand alone, but their intentions are different. Antigone has a strong grasp on her morals and is able to do what is right even when no one supports her. The theme of this story is Fate and Free will and to see Antigone’s bravery and courage to do what she truly believed in was right. Antigone symbolizes her free will of doing what is right even if it may cost her life. Antigone’s courageous acts raises one question. Why are we scared of death?