Category Archives: Oedipus & Antigone

Antigone, “Who Is The Tragic Hero”

Sophocles’ Antigone focusses on the conflict between Creon a great almighty king, with all the power to do basically whatever wants. All of this against one willingly girl Antigone. Antigone’ is fighting for the “higher law “and does not abide or believe in Creon’s overpowering laws. Now, this issue of visibility in many examples of politics in history and modern-day history. There will always be the issue of someone having a higher bracket, influence, or just plain power over others.

For most people their preconceived idea of what a hero is our strong individual who overcomes a problem. Although the truth is heroes don’t always have to be courageous, strong, and always find justice. For example, Martin Luther King’ fought for black rights and got shot in the process, yet he still made a massive impact on society then and today.

when I read his play personally, I find it obvious who the hero could be yet still have trouble putting it into words. Mostly everyone in this play worships Creon because of fear. For example, at the beginning of the play (P1, L28) Ismene says “they mean a great deal to me, but I have no strength to break the laws made for the public good.” You can see in this quote how much Creon has almost brainwashed the public citizens. Everyone in they’re right mind would never question Creon’s laws, understandably.

Antigone to me in this play is immediately a hero in this play to me showing how she would rather die a martyr then ignore it.

“If you say so, you will make me hate you, and the hatred of the dead, by all rights, will haunt you night and day . But leave me to my own absurdity, leave me to suffer this dreadful thing. I will suffer nothing as great as death without glory.”  (Antigone P 64)

Antigone expresses through this quote how she feels it is more necessary to honor her brother, then to die without glory knowing what she could have done. The fact th=at she wet up against the insane law and fought for what she thought was right was very hero-like. maybe she didn’t get to carry on her life, but she died in glory as a martyr and stood up for hat she believes. I’m sure others in the city of Thebes realized how sickening the laws were. you can see the effect of Antigone’s decisions through the death of Eteocles and healed who both realized how cruel these laws were.

I believe Antigone was a strong individual who stood up for what she believed in until the very end as a tragic hero.

Antigone: Modernism, Law vs. Individual

Modernism? We prefer to create public order as a political tool, a philosophy that helps us to control the brutal forces of nature that threaten us. In this sense, a reductive instrument that helps prevent us from being overcome by the overwhelming complexities of human social life. Such demarcations are much less simple than all characters imagine. Creon suppresses the requests of the nether gods, one-sidedly stressing his devotion to the town and rejecting his duty as a dead member of his kin to Polynices. Not only does Antigone reject Creon ‘s public rule as the only way out of confusion and suffering, but also the private role of Creon as the head of the integrity she wants to protect. For both, the distinction of public and private is the basis for more separations of friend and adversary, spiritual and mortal, just and unjust; as it turns out, however, their one-sided solution to these problems tends to be at least partially defective, when both Creon and Antigone close their eyes to substantial details and situations that escape their schematic ways of thought.

With that being said, the defeat of the main characters of the play does not decide that it is with wrong to ‘separate rule.’ The imaginary divisions and demarcations of law are, for the Greeks as for us, the only manner in which law can expect to bring order to the anarchy of nature. The goal set by the Chorus is to look for the virtues of separative law while remembering that the art of division of law itself is a natural force. Separative law may be an invention of man, but it does not mean it is not a natural occurrence. In his valiant attempts to transcend nature and better the human condition, we undoubtedly say women too, man and as moderns. These contrivances have given us immense advantages but can also result in our demise. As artificial law takes on an unnecessarily rationalist nature, the dangers of our greatness loom big, not only drawing more or less artificial lines and categories but absolutizing its artificiality and fully ignoring its own identity as a natural power.

One-sided resort to separative law’s artificial divisions and generalisations ruins human existence even when it attempts to protect it from other powers’ devastation. No feasible solution is offered by an unbalanced focus on contextual particularity; a legal structure that depends unilaterally on unreflected personal morality is required to collapse in its coordinating role. It would eventually be important to negotiate with the remains of justice. The play leads us ever less to any unheroic ‘middle path’ in which human grandeur is rejected in lieu of a life in the shadows that is wretched and insignificant, preserved by the gods but unseen by posterity. Instead, the Antigone of Sophocles makes us mindful of our precarious state in which we are bound to make use of law and politics as rationalistic instruments that elevate us at once but threaten us in that elevation. To support us in our human lives, managing and nurturing wild nature and shielding us from its harsh powers, we founded our legal orders and cities. We are continually and ultimately at risk of losing ourselves in our hurried efforts to become the rulers and possessors of nature, now guided by the complex legal and political systems we built to assist us in the first place.

Oedipus and Antigone: Men vs Women

As Ismene said, “Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men.” (page 62) She believes that women must be ruled by men because they are weak. Ismene made it clear that women are second class citizens compared to men who rule everything. Antigone’s reaction to her sister was powerful. Antigone said “But leave me to my own absurdity, leave me to suffer this – dreadful thing. I will suffer nothing as great as death without glory.” (page 64)In these aspects, Antigone made it clear that what matters is standing up for what is right. Gender issues are not just about making sure you have a strong faith. For Antigone, it means the ability to know that no matter what the consequences are, you must fight for your beliefs and pursue it all the way to the end.

Sophocles takes the reader through ancient Greek, a patriarchal society dominated by men. “What? You’d kill your own son’s bride?” Ismene (page 89) then Creon replied with “Absolutely: there are other field for him to plow.” He is denying Antigone’s emotional value for Haemon. He is proved wrong as Haemon really loves Antigone, not only because she is his fiancé, but that he is madly in love with her, that’s the reason why she is irreplaceable and why Creon was wrong about objectifying women.

 

 

Antigone: Tragedy

The story of Antigone is a tragedy. Aristotle believes that “Tragedy is an imitation, not of  men, but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a quality.” (ch.6) There is more behind the conflict between Creon and Antigone, no matter if politically significant in Sophocles’s time or not.

Antigone’s actions can be controversial from her character. Although determinedly burying her brother out of hatred towards her destiny and disappointment to the city,  at the same time, she passionately believes that “I was born to join in love, not hate—that is my nature.” (p.86) She desires to be loved, to feel like she belongs, yet she rejects the opportunity. For example, when Ismene offers to die with her, Antigone tells Ismene to “never share my dying, don’t lay claim to what you never touched.” (p.87) In the end, she feels as if she is entirely alone. She cries,

“I go to my rock bound prison, strange new tomb—always a stranger, O dear god, I have no home on earth and none below, not with the living, not with the breathless dead.” (p.103) 

But she was never alone. Her conscious mind persuades herself to believe in a truth different from reality, and it leads to her suffering.

The same goes for Creon. As readers, we may have a negative impression on Creon and easily side with Antigone, but Creon is justifiable in his own way. He carries heavy responsibilities as the King of Thebes.

“Never at my hands will the traitor be honoured above the patriot. But whoever proves his loyalty to the state–I’ll prize that man in death as well life.” (p.68)

Having said that, putting his words into action produces a different effect, especially when the majority disagrees with his actions. And at last, Tiresias tells him, “You have no business with the dead, nor do the gods above–this violence you have forced upon the heavens.” (p.115) Creon used to be a calm and logical thinker, who used to say ” Who in his right mind would rather rule and live in anxiety than sleep in peace? (Oedipus the King, p.193) But it all disappears once he ascends the throne.

Did Creon change as a character? It isn’t necessary to say that Creon now thinks higher of the state’s law over the Gods. In Ancient Greek, it is a part of a citizen’s right and duty to contribute to a polis, a state. It could be viewed as faithfulness towards the gods, but it is also a form of monism. I’ve concluded that Creon does respect and fear the gods, but those gods are the gods of the polis. He isn’t displeasing the gods by ordering the corps to be left bare, because Polynices was a traitor, and a traitor has no rights to be a citizen nor deserving a burial.

Opposite of Antigone, Creon is the embodiment of order and logical reason in the play. But he is punished for his “wisdom” and his pride. The Chorus remarked at the end of the play:

“Wisdom is by far the greatest part of joy, and reverence toward the gods must be safeguarded. The mighty words of the proud are paid in full with mighty blows of fate, and at long last those blows will teach us wisdom.” (p.128)

But he was never entirely wrong. Creon represents more of a human to me than Antigone would. In the end, he calls himself “A rash, indiscriminate fool!”(p.127) which he indeed was a fool, but there’s nothing wrong with being foolish. I disagree that Haemon and Eurydice’s deaths are the direct causes of Creon’s foolishness. However sorrowful their endings may be, it is very arrogant for Creon to think that he alone caused their deaths. In Antigone, every character’s tragedy builds upon another’s and accumulates into a collective pain that if enlarged into a greater scale, that the entire human race suffers from.

But these large-scaled sufferings are the pains that we have trouble explaining. It is the pain from our conscious minds, which we take pride in as humans. The pains that we do notice are the small and insignificant ones. It is the basic karmic tragedy, where one suffers because of one’s faults. The tragedy in Antigone is that one is being punished for pursuing righteousness. Isn’t there something beautiful about suffering? I’d like to believe that at least in literature, the tragic story is always the most sincere story.

Antigone: Who is the protagonist?

Antigone is a story about our moral code and how it can play a major role in our lives. It is about how she went against all odds for what she believed to be for the greater good. However, I believe that Antigone is not the main character of this play.

In the beginning, we are introduced to Antigone and her sister, Ismene. Antigone is announcing her plan to honour their brother’s burial to her sister, however, we never see her carry out her plan. Instead, the play cuts straight to Creon, Antigone’s uncle, and the dialogue occurs mostly around him describing Antigone’s actions.

In the end, Creon was the main character. The connection I made with Oedipus and Creon is that they both had miserable endings and both of their loved ones killed themselves. Therefore, Creon was left to suffer alone forever, questioning his actions that brought death onto his loved ones.

In conclusion, Antigone’s story is told by Creon all throughout the play making him the main character on stage, and it is his story which becomes the tragic ending of the play.

Why do people Change?

Creon changed for the worse over the years from having everything he ever needed to losing everything he had. In Antigone, written by Sophocles we often find ourselves asking questions about what was the cause and reason for a certain event. A question such as how some characters have changed for the better and others for the worse. Why do people change? This question is quite bland, isn’t it? Why don’t we tie it to one of the main characters in the story like Creon? Creon had made appearances within Oedipus the King and in Antigone. In Oedipus The King we noticed the kind of person Creon was from the way in which he acted during certain scenarios. “Never–curse me, let me die and be damned if I’ve done you any wrong you charge me with.” (p. 196). After Oedipus continuously blames Creon for being the murderer of king Lauis Creon stays kind to himself and does not talk back in a rash way. He was calm and spoke nothing but the truth, which showed how caring and loyal he was as a person of Thebes. However this loyalty or so-called truthful characteristic of Creon changed completely in Antigone. . .

So why did Creon change in Antigone? After Oedipus’s exile and after Oedipus’s two sons had killed one another Creon became the king of Thebes. Before being a king Creon had everything he had ever needed. He had a family, a home, and money. However once he had taken a step forward from his comfort at a young age, now being king, he began to act in a less truthful and noble way. He decided that Polynices, who was one of Oedipus’s sons, was to be left out in the open to be eaten by the crows and dogs. However, Antigone, one of Oedipus’s daughters, thought that her own brother was being treated rather unjustly and she buried her brother in love. Did Antigone bury her brother for love or for glory? When Creon had found Antigone guilty for the crime he became frustrated with her for disobeying him. . .

“Never! Sister’s child or closer in blood than all my family clustered at my altar worshiping Guardian Zeus–She’ll never escape, she and her blood sister, the most barbaric death. Yes, I accuse her sister of an equal part in scheming this, this burial.” (p. 83)

When Creon said this he no longer related to his original self. His original self being a kind and honest, not at all self-centered man. However, now that he is king he is becoming more dishonest about himself. You would be able to relate him more to Oedipus rather than his own son Haemon. When Haemon saw how Creon was acting towards Antigone in such a harsh and unreasonable way he decided to side with Antigone. This made Creon even more irritated because first of all Antigone was speaking up as a woman and Creon had to defend himself as a man. Secondly, his own son was siding with the enemy, or at least who Creon thought to be his enemy being Antigone.

What makes us change? Or maybe in another sense what makes us human?  Is it to do with the individuals we surround ourselves with or is it something else? Maybe it is the way we act and think with ourselves? How do we or can we relate to Creon or Antigone’s situation? One is fighting for themself while the other is fighting for the entire kingdom of Thebes. Who is supposedly right in this situation? The person who wants everything in order? Or the person who wants to do what is right not only for themself but for everyone who feels they are being judged unfairly?

English 11: Antigone- Who is the protagonist of the play?

This play had many characters who have could’ve been the main character. There was Antigone, Creon, and even Chorus, but I believe the protagonist was Creon. Even though the play was named after Antigone, Creon had more screen time and was left with the bigger decisions throughout most of the play. Though Antigone did the “heroic” act, Creon suffered the most during the timeline of the play by losing his wife, Antigone, and others close to him. Finally, the play was mostly centred around him and his perspective.

Conflicts representing Antigone: Men vs. Women

Throughout Sophocles’ play,  Antigone, we encounter the recurring conflict between men and women. Although the dispute between Creon and Antigone could emphasize many existential issues, a primary one we are met with is the dominant ideology of patriarchy. Whether enforced by women or by men, the inequality between them is abundantly clear, and equally harmful.

The first demonstration of the societally induced gender roles is Ismene’s line, “Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men.” (p. 62) Ismene has made herself and other women inferior to men, because that is what she has been conditioned to believe. She then goes on to refer to women as, “underlings, ruled by much stronger hands,” (p. 62) which reveals the “damsel-in-distress” literary trope we are so often shown.

Later, we develop a sense of Antigone’s opposition to this ideology, when she raises herself onto Creon’s level, rather than making herself subservient to him. She says that she is not going to break the laws of the gods out of fear for, “some man’s wounded pride.” (p. 82) In this quotation, she is creating equality between the two of them, rather than succumbing to their patriarchal society. This, along with her strength to stand up to the man in power in order to defend her beliefs, are few of many reasons why Antigone is still regarded as an early feminist. 

Despite Antigone’s efforts of equality, Creon’s oppression against women is definitely prevalent.The line, “she is the man” (p. 83) insinuates that when you’re brave, accomplished, and successful, you’re a man, and when you’re the opposite, you’re a woman. Why is it that we still use words such as “manly” to replace the words brave and courageous?  

On a slightly more obvious note, when talking to Ismene, Creon says, “there are other fields for [Haemon] to plow,” (p. 89). This is incredibly degrading, objectifying, and upsetting. It affirms that women are just objects used to please men, and are therefore expendable. Creon also advises Haemon, “I warn you… a worthless woman in your house, a misery in your bed.” (p. 93) Is this really how women were regarded? Their only purposes were to carry children and to satisfy men. In so many respects, we are incredibly fortunate for the change that has occurred in this area. And yet, there is still a tremendous number of residual issues from these times, which is concerning due to the amount of time that has passed since this was written. 

I like to point out all the areas in which Creon is a sexist, misogynistic man, but could I expect anything else from people at that era? It was just the way it was, which is appalling, but true. It’s interesting that Sophocles wrote such a powerful, modern woman (Antigone), and such a despicable, sexist man (Creon). I wonder if Sophocles was purposefully speaking on the inequality between men and women, or if he was simply writing a realistic situation, which we now perceive as unjust…
Through all of this, I must ask, why are we defining the conflict as men versus women, when that enforces the segregation between them? We must discard the harmful, antiquated notion that one gender is superior, and we must replace it with actions supporting the claim that we are equal.

Antigone: A Convergence of Exclusionary Righteous Opinions

No one, I am convinced, has ever been able to be totally correct in their opinion. Our entire lives, we strive to correct our existential perspective to align with whatever we consider the most ‘authentic’, however such ideology is always ill-founded: we revise what we previously considered affirmative, or yet what we perceived as the truth is refuted by most other people and their respective ideologies. No one can say, ‘it is best to try and achieve our highest potential, becoming the best person we can be,’ since such a statement might be ill-founded with the makeup of our existence/universe. Perhaps, we would achieve a higher flow state, where we receive higher enjoyment (for reasons unknown, some greater energetic force perhaps), by releasing our life aspirations and living with what is around us, seeking happiness not from achieving greatness, however from the everyday sights and simple tasks of a ‘free’ life. Who knows? But what is for certain, the human psyche is perpetually self-correcting, drastically or minutely. And that, I believe, is the underlying theme for Antigone.

As an opinionated person, I naturally sided against Creon, whom I deemed a ‘fool’. It is interesting, I admit, how easily one can write off another’s opinions. Creon was ever so rash as to place sturdy empirical evidence behind his own intentions, firstly accusing his sentry of treason, then to firmly wish his niece dead, and accuse the other niece likewise, or to disavow the gods, brush off Tiresius’ prophecies, to not sense the heart of his people the citizens of Thebes, or to be as satanic as throw away his son’s true love. Whereas I may use a word such as ‘satanic’ to describe his actions, it is impossible to contradict one’s sense of justice. Creon likely considered his law was best for running Thebes, as it benefitted his personal biases and that as he was the best man to rule his country, being all ‘selfless’ and ‘sympathetic’ as any king should, his personal biases were what was best for his state and anyone had ought to obey him. That is my best guess. How he arrived at such a conclusion, I would assume perhaps he had lost touch with his moral senses, and as being king with no colleagues to receive advice from, he had never learned how to run a kingdom and what kinds of actions were just/unjust. In any fashion he achieved his outlook on life, this proves people can form severely distorted views of reality from others.

In the essence of not writing too much, I will not explore Antigone’s personality (nor Ismene, even the Chorus), however assume her situation is similar to Creon’s. Just like Creon, I believe Antigone foolish, however knowing I am judging the characters’ opinions, I am unable to provide an explanation for my standpoint on the matter. Perhaps I would adopt certain ideas of equality from Antigone, yet retain other protectionist from Creon. One can’t always appeal to the common good, neither flaunt their own opinion in public. Regardless, Antigone is best described as a conflict of interest, where different ideas on the world with different laws to adhere to converge.

Oedipus & Antigone, Men VS Women.

Oedipus and Antigone written by Sophocles, are plays mostly about loyalty. One of the key conflicts brought up frequently is that both plays represent an unjust environment for women, this also means a state where men are considered as prevalent.  Women in the plays are treated unfairly, there is a lack of gender equality. Women’s empowerment, in the real world, has turned into a global issue for this generation.

The lack of fair treatment of women is portrayed clearly in both plays. “Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men.” Ismene, (II 74-75). Girls were taught not to argue, not to speak up, and be afraid of men. “If fall we must, at the hands of a man ⏤ never be rated inferior to a woman, never.” (II 759-61). This quote by Creon illustrates a male superiority and it aligns masculinity with dominance whereas it aligns femininity with subordination.  Referring to Oedipus, “But my two daughters, my poor helpless girls…” (I-1602). Oedipus makes it seem like women/girls are powerless, they should get married or have children to be ensured, they must be with a man to be protected, women without men are hopeless. I think everyone is their own individual, a lady does not need to be with a man to characterize herself.

This points to the inferior power position women hold in the society, and the pressure placed upon them from previous generations. Pressure referring to being unable to stand up for themselves and sustaining societal reforms. The issue of ‘women empowerment’  is steadily being brought more into light. Society needs to overcome their ignorant and chauvinistic ways, and accept and respect everyone for who they choose to be.

English Blog Post September 27th 2020

My chosen question is:

 Does Antigone match Aristotle’s description of a tragedy?

 

There are many elements an author has to cover in order to make a successful tragedy. In order to write in the  correct form for a tragedy, you need the information as follows:

  • Play must have catharsis (purification and exclusion of emotions)
  • A tragic hero
  • A change in destiny within a character
  • Must be poetic
  • Needs to take place in a single day
  • Obtain in one location
  • All events are required to be closely related to one other

There are many components writers ought be aware of when creating a tragedy, but the main focus is to exhilarate two emotions: Pity and Fear.

Within the words pity and fear, you may be able to understand why tragedies occur in on place, or develop in one day. If a character (i.e the tragic hero, or protagonist) is afraid of meeting their fate, they may not want to leave their current location.  If a character is pitying a loss over someone committing suicide (which happens frequently in tragedies) then they may also commit suicide to add more drama to the play.

In conclusion, there are multiple ways to write a play. This  comprises of the theme, location, etc. The most important element for a tragedy is to keep the structure the same as Aristotle’s definition.