Oedipus the king is not straightforward, there is no “bad guy”, but the protagonist is Oedipus. Oedipus may not be the ideal king, but he cares for his people like a parent to his children, he has very little foresight or wisdom and is quick to anger and jumping to conclusions. Through his positive hastiness, Oedipus oft-times draws the wrong conclusion, and when the truth is told to him he denies it. It takes the entirety of the book for him to find the truth. Oedipus fits the definition of a tragedy put forth by Aristotle. Oedipus was a king of Thebes, who to his knowledge did nothing wrong in his life, and had horrible misfortunes. Unknowingly caused by himself.
Oedipus was a very interesting book to read for me, I wasn’t expecting it to take such a turn very early in the story so I was a bit shocked when it did. What interested me the most is that Oedipus didn’t see a resemblance to his mom Jocasta. When I first read that Oedipus killed his father and married his mom and had children with her I was very shocked and couldn’t believe that I read that correctly. Not only that but the fact that he choose to be king of Thebes on the spot and marry a woman he’s never met made me think that why would he want to become king and marry a woman without thinking or knowing the background of the kingdom. As days went on Oedipus receives news that Thebes will be pledged until the killer of Laius was removed from the land. Oedipus then made a promise to find the killer and have him be punished by being exiled. Reading that kind of determination Oedipus has and the willingness he has to protect his people and loved ones was what I thought was very admirable to me. The fact that he did not only have the killer be banished but he gave the chance for them to leave without having to step forward to the murder not knowing it was him of course. He also said that anyone who knows the killer and known what they have done would be punished as well but can as well leave the kingdom without having to step forward and be humiliated and ashamed for what they have done.
Having read the story of Antigone really interested me to continue reading the story more. I love the fact that Antigone was putting her life on the line the properly bury her brother so that he could be barred properly and move on from the earth. Her courage and love for her family were so moving and reminds me of me and how I’m with my family and the love and lengths I would go for them. The fact the Antigone believes that everyone deserves to be buried properly even if they are “considered” a traitor is moving that she believes that people who have done bad things show how kind and opened hearted she is to everyone.
Reading Antigone, a play written by Sophocles, really made me admire Antigone’s courage and fearlessness in the face of adversity. While first reading the book, I did originally dismiss Ismene, finding her to be cowardice and weak, but as I read more into the play, I quickly realized how apparent the inequality between men and women actually was. I took for granted the improvement of gender equality in the present time, assuming and relating my own experiences back to the play. The lack of equality is made obvious by Creon, “Therefore we must defend the men who live by law, never let some woman triumph over us. Better to fall from power, if we fall, we must, at the hands of a man – never be rated inferior to a woman, never.” (pg.94) These lines reveal Creon’s blatant sexism and his complete denial of women’s right to equality under his law. Creon frequent and casual misogyny, the constantly degradation of women in the play, lead me to see the social conditioning women in the play went through daily.
This new understanding made me grasp Ismene’s decision making and thoughts, her fear of defying Creon and her decision to stand back and Antigone.
Personally, Oedipus, a play written by Sophocles, is an intriguing read. What originally stuck out and caught my attention was a psychological concept named after the play. The Oedipus complex is a Freudian term describing a child’s desire for their opposite-sex parent and jealously and hatred towards their same-sex parent. Although the complex has very little evidence to support its theory and is likely to be made up, throughout reading Oedipus, it unsettled me. The idea of something that happened to Oedipus, him killing his father and falling in love with his mother, or something as traumatizing and as unnerving happening to me triggered the recollection of many childhood and current memories, desperate in trying not to find any similarities between the two storylines. The idea itself disgusted and repulsed me, but towards the end of the play, it really made me empathize with Oedipus. It allowed me to connect and understand Oedipus and his choices on a deeper level, as well as evoke a sense of sympathy from me towards his unfortunate fate.
This new revelation made me reflect on my attitudes first reading the play and it can be said that I did have an arrogant and self-centered view, criticizing, looking down upon and belittling Oedipus’ choices and decisions, only really empathizing with Oedipus when imagining the same scenario happening to myself.
Antigone is a tragedy for sure. For both Antigone and Creon, both of which were noble people which did, for what we know, no evil thing. They were completely good people. But Creon was king and had laws and face to uphold, Antigone was a princess of sorts who had a strong sense of right and wrong. But in accordance with some laws of the time Creon did not decide to bury the prince Polynices. Who decided to wage war on his brother who was power hungry. Polynices was then branded a traitor, and as such was not to be buried on Theban soil. But instead of being buried on foreign soil, Creon set in a law in which Polynices was not to be buried at all. Thereby violating one of the “unwritten rules” made by the gods. Thus Creon was punished (i.e. everyone he ever loved dies horribly). In such then the tragedy of Creon is not a tragedy, he instigated it. Antigone is a different story. She was a young noblewoman, good head strong, supposed to be seen as the ideal lady. But because she tried to bury her brother, Creon locked her up, later she hung herself, most likely thinking that her sister, Ismene, was sentenced to the same fate as she. Hæmon, the son of Creon, was in love with and supposed to wed Antigone, but when she was banished he ran off and was later found with the dead body of Antigone. He then fell on his sword, which at the time was more of a move of ritual suicide than accident. Hæmon´s only appearance was in the tragedy of Antigone. I believe he was simply created to die, there is no other role that is played by him. Eurydice is the wife of Creon, after hearing of the death of her last son she committed suicide on an altar. All this leads to a depressed and shaken Creon who goes on to be king. All this tragedy and death is brought to a slow end, and unlike Oedipus, nothing major happens to Creon himself, except for the death of everyone. Interestingly enough Ismene is the only one of the royal houses of Thebes left except for Creon. Through all of this as well as our talks of Oedipus before we know that women were considered deeply below males, but that men were also scared, to a degree, by women. Women were supposed to be obedient. In this way Sophocles was progressive, he made a main character that was a woman and also very disobedient and headstrong as well as morally strong, unlike her sister Ismene who was what was seen as a perfect nobility class woman. Also through Antigone and Creon do the Greek stereotypes war, for Creon he stands for the men of the day, state, power. Antigone stands for the women of the day and their social allotment, religion and family.
In Antigone, Sophocles brought out the problem of immense inequality among men and women. Creon forbids anyone to bury Antigone’s brother Polynices in the play, but she goes against Creon’s wishes and does it anyway.
We know from the play that women in ancient Greece were not considered people and were often looked down upon by men. We can identify this by seeing Creon regularly degrading women in the play. “Never let some woman triumph over us. Better to fall from power; if we fall, we must, at the hands of a man – never be rated inferior to a woman, never.” (P.94). Another piece of evidence is that when Creon knew about the news of someone having buried Polynices, he immediately assumed the one who did it was a man “If you don’t find the man who buried that corpse, the very man…” (P.74).
Even with all the social conditioning, Antigone still manages to go against her society’s cultural beliefs by burying Polynices; how did Antigone become so bold? Besides that, with Ismene’s reaction, we know that women fell into this negative stereotype, and if anything happens, they will stay silent, “I’d do them no dishonour… but defy the city? I have no strength for that.” (P.63). The majority of the time Ismene did not want to go against men; however, she ended up being on Antigone’s side and stood up for herself. “I did it, yes if only she consents – I share the quit, the consequence too.” (P.86). Therefore, we can see that women agreed with Antigone, but most did not have the courage.
As evident in the play, Antigone is a brave woman who is willing to stand up against men even with the social condition in ancient Greece. An example of this happening in a real-life situation is Emily Murphy in The Persons Case. In the 1920s, Emily Murphy successfully persuaded the judges that women should be considered people under the British North America Act.
In conclusion, the conflict between men and women best describes Antigone. The play displays how women were always looked down upon by men, showing that Antigone dares to go against the social norms and raise the question if the society we live in has the same problem to readers.
Who was the main character in the play Antigone? After reading the play, I believe the main character is Creon. The name of the play leads us to believe the protagonist is Antigone and that the story would be about her, but in my opinion, the main character was actually Creon. I think this because although a part of the story is about Antigone and how she handles the death of her brothers, most of the play is about the aftermath and reaction of Creon when Antigone doesn’t obey his rules. How he assesses the situation and the series of events that take place after make me conclude that he is the lead character. The play revolves around him, he is the king, the ruler, and to me Antigone is seen as the troublemaker, the person Creon has to deal with. At the end of the play after Antigone is taken away, Creon finds out about the death of his son and his wife. The play was always happening around Creon and what he was doing and it ended with the people closest to him dead. He was the play’s focus and core. Without the role of Creon in this play not much would happen as Creon was often the one creating conflict and emotion. You can see the conflict that Creon caused and the frustration of Antigone when she says,
“Hasn’t Creon graced one with all the rites, disgraced the other? Eteocles, they say, has been given full military honours, rightly so—Creon has laid him in the earth and he goes with glory down among the dead. But with the body of Polynices, who died miserably—why, a city-wide proclamation, rumour has it, forbids anyone to bury him, even mourn him. He’s left to be unwept, unburied, a lovely treasure for birds that scan the field and feast to their heart’s content.”
The conflict and emotion Creon produced throughout the whole play and his role as the play’s focus, leads me to believe that he is the true main character of the story.
Antigone matches Aristotle’s description of a tragedy. Antigone was just a normal girl that was neither extremely unfortunate nor fortunate. She loses everything because of her brothers’ deaths, which were both out of her control. Aristotle’s version of a tragedy is the worst thing happening to a normal person without a reason or cause, and the story Antigone is the perfect fit. “The power of fate is a wonder, dark, terrible wonder— neither wealth nor armies towered walls nor ships black hulls lashed by the salt can save us from that force.” (pg. 108 Sophocles). This proves that Antigone was not all that special and was instead just like any other person. She could relate to anyone. Another example is the story of Antigone is king Creon, who at the end of the play ends up losing everything he loves. “…god came down and struck me—a great weight shattering, driving me down that wild savage path, ruining, trampling down my joy. Oh the agony, the heartbreaking agonies of our lives.” (pg. 124 Sophocles). This is after Creon’s son dies, it is another example of Aristotle’s description of a tragedy, Creon being a semi-normal person ends up losing all he loves because of an uncontrollable prophecy. Antigone meets Aristotle’s description of a tragedy because of the way in which both Creon and Antigone suffer from tragedies that could not be changed.
Antigone, one part of the three Theban plays, is a fascinating read to me personally. However, there seems to be a protagonist and an antagonist, neither belonging to the evil or wrong side. Both Antigone and Creon had their own beliefs, Antigone saying that all people deserve a burial and Creon believing that honoring a traitor’s death is a sin.
This raises the question if either Antigone or Creon is the protagonist throughout the play, who is the actual main character? Although they seem to have a large part to say during the story’s duration, it becomes clear that the narrative is shaped around Antigone, not Creon. Creon had set the lay line for Antigone to make her appearance and gather attention by only doing what she believes to be correct. Although Antigone is not the one in power, she is able to voice her opinion at all times and does as she pleases without facing any consequences by Creon, who is supposed to behead her for her crimes. In tragedy, however, Antigone causes another tremendous plot twist as she hangs herself on a rope, which leads to the change of the entire play and shows that the story evolved around her. With Antigone’s death, the story had reached a slow ending as she was the reason why Creon’s son then killed himself. Which in return then led to the decimation of Creon’s wife as the misfortune had dragged her along.
In the play “Antigone”, written by Sophocles, I personally think Antigone is the protagonist. Both Antigone and Creon play very important roles in the play, but Antigone is the one who carries the story the most and her actions are the centre of the play.
The whole argument in this play was triggered by the fact that Antigone broke Creon´s law and buried her brother Polyneices. She was the only one who had the courage to do so and stayed loyal to her family. Nevertheless, her actions resulted in Creon becoming very angry and sentencing her to death. Of course you could argue that this situation was actually initiated by Creon because he made the law that nobody is allowed to bury Polyneices, but I think that is only partly true. If Antigone would just have listened to Ismene and accepted the law like all the other citizens of Thebes did, none of the following conflict would have ever been established.
Creon speaks more passages in the play than Antigone does, but nearly all of them are about Antigone or people connected to her. Towards the end of the play, Antigone´s death even results in the death of Haemon, because he killed himself, mostly due to Antigone´s death. Also Eurydice´s death goes back to Antigone, because her own son died because of his wife. A 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 Haemon, then with her dying breath she called down torments on your head-you killed her sons.” (p.126).
In conclusion, I think that Antigone and not Creon or any other character is the protagonist, because she is the main reason for most of the conflict in the play. This is also recommended by the name of the play, “Antigone”.
It should be argued that Antigone is the protagonist of the whole play. First, it is clear that Antigone had an intention of burying her own two brothers properly to the ground, despite Creon’s guaranteed penalty of doing so. This serves as the main plot point that muchly drives the whole story, as if it was not for Antigone, it would not have turned the way it is. It could also be said that since the beginning, the story highlights the notion of morality versus personal conscience because Antigone alone is already a big representation of the basic morality of honoring dead people, which is still muchly prevalent in nowadays’ society. Secondly, Antigone’s sense of morality is clearly shown since the beginning of the story, which have allowed readers to have a better idea of where the hero, as well as the villain are in the story. For example, “There you have it. You’ll soon show what you are, worth your breeding, Ismene, or a coward-for all your royal blood.” (Sophocles, 60) At first, it seems that Antigone is being quite extreme in this situation, but this shows that her sense of justice is unwavering, by the author’s diction of “worth your breeding” and “coward-for all your royal blood”. It strongly implies that Antigone’s knows her identity and value extremely well in the story, as being part of the family, especially in a royal one, she simply understands that it is utmost to respect her family, a true example of heroism. Another notable piece of evidence is, “I won’t insist, no even if you have a change of heart, I’d never welcome you in the labor, not with me. So, do as you like, whatever suits you best-I will bury him myself.” Antigone’s balance in thinking makes her all the more honorable, as even with a strong sense of justice, she still understands to set out healthy boundaries with her sister to settle the affair on her own because not all people will agree with her way, even with the one closest to her. All in all, Antigone’s motive and morality is straightforward for readers to grasp of and understand her character at the core from the very start.
Loyalty to the state vs. loyalty to family best describes Antigone.
As we know, Antigone is doing whatever it takes, no matter Creon’s law for her brother to receive a proper burial. The play clearly shows the two sides, the loyal to the state and the loyal to family.
The side of the loyal to the state is first shown when Creon declares that the body of Polynices should not be buried as he is a traitor of Thebes, Creon did not care that Polynices was the son of the king (Oedipus). And no one standed against Creon, no one said nothing, the diction of the people of Thebes conveys that they were scared, like when the Sentry is talking to Creon about the body. Then, they find out Antigone was the one who buried the body, Creon says to Antigone that she is the only one who thinks that the body should be buried, Antigone’s response to that is, “They see it just that way but defer to you and keep their tounges in leash” (page 84, line 570). This means that she knows people think like her but they prefer to not to say anything and to be loyal. Rumors of the people are mentioned but no one would do something about it.
The other side, the loyal to family is Antigone. She is disposed to die for her brother, she is not scared to confess that she buried the body and she argues about her point. Her priority is her family and she wants to end things how she thinks it is right no matter what.
Ismene is also evidence of the loyalty to the state vs. loyalty to family. When Antigone tells Ismene her plan, she is loyal and she is scared of Creon. But then, when Antigone is sentence to die, Ismene is also willing to die with her as she is loyal to her family.
In conlcusion, loyalty to the state vs. loyalty to family best describes the play Antigone as they can be clearly identified.
While reading one of the Three Theban Plays, I came to the conclusion that in the play of Antigone, a play in which we can find that there is a lot of action and drama. That the main character in the play is Antigone, this is made to the fact that first of all her name is on the play and second of all she is the character that leads the story and that is doing everything she can do to bury his brother Polyneices who was seen as a traitor. Antigone’s sister is Ismene and she is a person who believes in curses and is very afraid of death, we can analyze this when the character is first introduced to us in the beginning where Antigone asks for help to bury their brother. Ismene thinks that there is a curse in their family for all of the recent events that happened in the play, and honestly I have to agree with her. The things that happened in the story of Antigone and Oedipus Rex involve a lot of suicide, death and cold events like marying your mother and killing your father. Based on what I read, I came to the conclusion that Creon would be the antagonist in this play since he was constantly going against Antigone’s wishes and trying to get her killed. In the first try of burying his brother, Creon finds out of what she has done and yet doesn’t kill her but by the second time she puts her in a cave which it blew my mind to read all the crazy things they would do to their families back then. Although the play has a lot of harsh events, I still found myself enjoying reading the plays and really liked the story of Antigone.
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.
I found the ending of this play, share some details that’s common between this play: “Antigone”, and “Oedipus Rex”. for example in the end both beg for being taken away, out of sight. The main character in Creon, personally I dislike this character, and what he gets is what he deserved. The setting of the play is clearly set in a time where classes are more well-defined, that can tell by the language which is very formal, and “old-fashioned”, and the register is high. The structure of the play is more chronological, compare to Oedipus Rex. In my opinion, I can not make the case that Creon was right, an event he can be considered as a trailer of Thebes, he was supposed to be the king at the time, and even those cases can be argued, place a body, especially suppose king out in the open, is not acceptable, and if I place the mindset of the time Creon deserves more than what he got. To make a connection with myself, the Hong Kong protest appears in my mind, after Hong Kong is “return” to mainland china in 1997, Hongkonger is promised election of our head of state, a.k.a. “Executive”, and yet after 2 plus decades, mainland china, and Hong Kong government not still deliver, the people of Hong Kong took on the street to protest, and mainland china/ccp response with HKNSL, led to today the thousand of Hongkonger is now in exile.
(Note: mainland china is not capitalized as part of my silent protest)
I think that in Antigone Creon is the tragic hero of the story. I believe this because a tragic hero is someone who has heroic characteristics but their life still ends with a tragedy, which is exactly what happened to Creon. Throughout the whole play Creon was so sure that he was always right but after he realizes what he had done was wrong, he tries to go out and fix it all and solve his problems, being heroic, but he still ends up losing his son and his wife to suicide which he blames himself for, tragedy. Although it could be argued that Antigone was also a tragic hero and the protagonist in the story. This is because all Antigone wants is for her own brother, Polyneices, to have a proper burial like her other brother, Etocles. Rather than just being left out in the open to rot and be eaten away by birds, she wants to honey his death and honey the gods but, this means dishonouring Thebes and Creon. Although she tries to do this she gets caught and ends up being sent to a tomb to die off on her own. This leads to her killing herself and then her soon to be husband Haemon killing himself. I think that Creon is the more obvious tragic hero in this story but, I also think that Antigone is a tragic hero as well.
In the play Antigone, by Sophocles, we admire Antigone and her actions because she is, among other characteristics, the courageous person we all wish to be. Courage is often seen as the most important human characteristic by many famous philosophers. For example, Aristotle states that:
Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others. -Aristotle
An example in the book where we can see Antigone’s true courage (true courage being courage with no personal gain or non-moral justification) is when Antigone openly defies the law to do what is right, and when confronted by Creon (the king), she says,
I did it. I don’t deny a thing… These laws–I was not about to break them, not out of fear of some man’s wounded pride, and face retribution of the gods. Die I must, I’ve known it all my life. [p. 81 ln. 492, and p.82 ln. 509-513]
We can see true courage here, specifically when she says, “I don’t deny a thing” because she leaves herself defenceless to all the consequences. In conclusion, Antigone embodies the most important human characteristic of courage by not only defying law and risking her life to do what is right but by also facing the consequences.
Who is the tragic hero?
The tragic hero in the story is Creon. Although at first we are led to believe that its Antigone, after completing the play we come to realize that its truly Creon. Throughout the play we get many instances where we see both Antigone and Creon’s sides. We see a sad and almost broken Antigone who just wants to bury her only brother as she cannot have another sibling. Its really important to her because as she herself says on page 105 “ A husband dead, there might be another. A child by another too, if I had lost the first. But mother and father both lost in the halls of Death, no brother could ever spring to light again.” Yet for Creon we learn that he was doing what he thought the gods wanted him to. He saw a traitor in polynices as he came marching into thebes with an army and a thirst for revenge.
Creon’s point can be understood as polynices also took thebes’ king at the moment, and what would soon become a burden to creon who took the crown. In the play we see a roughed up creon who isn’t really happy and as we have many instances to see he has lost most of his patience since the last time we saw him in Oedipus. We can see it better when he gets mad very quickly at the prophet and lashes out the same way Oedipus lashed out to creon back in his play.
Finally we see everything that happens to Creon in the end: dead son and wife who committed suicide by a knife. He learns that both deaths were his fault in a moment of emotion. He starts saying how he thought he was doing the right thing and just before that he admitted and submitted to bury polynices, in the end doing the right thing. Still even though a “hero” his punishment comes and too devasted asks to be released from the pain, filling in the “role” of tragic hero.
One of the three stories included in The Three Theban Plays by Sophoclese, is Antigone, which takes place after Oedipus the king. Part of the reason I loved Antigone was because of how there aren’t really any bad guys. The story is mostly about a conflict between Antigone who believes that every person should be buried, and Creon who believes that traitors don’t deserve a burial.
While reading I kept thinking that if I were Creon I wouldn’t want to give a proper burial to a traitor. But I also understood Antigone’s reason for wanting to give her brother a burial, “no brother could ever spring to light again(p.105).” However in this specific scenario I believe Creon to be more just than Antigone. Antigone basically only wants to bury her brother because it is her brother. Her reasons for her actions are solely based on bias, while Creon overlooks his bias towards a family member, and uses logic to come to a conclusion. Creon has been known in Oedipus the king as being very logical, and I still believe him to be. His decision was based on logic in the sense that you get what you deserve. If he were to give polynices a proper burial, it would be mostly based on emotions and overlook the fact that he was a traitor. If some stranger were to betray his nation then attack it, would you still want to bury him?
Throughout this Greek play Antigone, there is a debate about who the protagonist of this play really is. In my opinion, I believe that Creon, the king of Thebes, is the main character of the story because of the story revolving around him and his overall power and involvement throughout the whole story. As King Creon is powerful and makes the rules, he voiced his opinion several times in almost every situation in a ruthless, ferocious manner. I think that Creon always was the center of attention and was also a very self-centred king who did not value family and used the power he had to his advantage, losing everyone he truly cared about in his life. An example of his aggression and interference is when He gets angry fast and abuses Ismene, who is innocent, calling her many names. For example, he states, “You viper, slinking undetected sucking my life-blood”!This signifies that he is very mean and unjust when dealing with Antigone and her sister Ismene. He also intrudes in a situation where he should have shown kindness towards his family member and had humility and mercy. Therefore, it is evident that Creon was the story’s protagonist and played an enormous role in the entire play.
In Antigone it is debatable who is really the “main character” of the play, however, I believe Creon is the main character and this is why. Creon almost perfectly matches Aristotle’s definition of the main character in a tragedy, meaning he is the “tragic hero” of this play. This is supported by the fact that Creon is generally a good ruler and normal person, but his stubbornness and pride ends up overcoming him leaving him to rule all alone. He matches Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero because he didn’t exactly do anything that was inherently bad, an average person would have made the same decision in his situation, but since Creon was kind of the “good guy” in Oedipus you see him as a man with high moral standards and you feel sympathetic for him. So when he is met with defeat, particularly defeated by himself, it seems tragic because of the things that happened to him he didn’t really deserve. To top it all off, Creon’s whole family dies not by his hand, but indirectly because of his actions, all this happens after he sees the higher good and takes back his action saying he will free Antigone, once again this supports Creon being the tragic hero because even though he made the right decision it was too late and the cost of it was heavy. So it leaves the reader with this tragic feeling: what if Creon made a decision earlier? What if Creon listened to Antigone? What if Creon didn’t let his pride blind him? In conclusion, Creon is a great example of Aristotle’s tragic hero, which is- a tragic play would make him the main character, and after reading this play you can really dissect the traits and virtues a tragic hero has.
Loyalty to the state vs. loyalty to family best describes the play Antigone.
First off, one can not fully understand the pain and experience that led to Antigone had to go through for her to illegally want to conduct a burial ceremony for her brother Polynices. Before taking sides, we must see both perspectives.
Creon is loyal to the state. He is loyal to Thebes. Antigone is loyal to her family. She is also somewhat loyal to Thebes but the loyalty to her family wins the race by a landslide.
The reason that Creon wanted Polynices body to rot on the earth without a proper burial for him is because Creon has so much pride in Thebes. “These laws— I was not about to break them out of fear of some man’s wounded pride” (Page 82 lines 509-510). This quotation talks about how Creon’s pride in Thebes has been damaged by Antigone’s actions. Even though Polynices had somewhat of a reason to attack the city, Creon ignored that and called him a traitor; and let his body rot on the surface of the earth.
Antigone shows her family pride, and family loyalty by conducting the burial, even with a death penalty if she was caught. I respect her actions but would not do it myself. I would be in despair if I was in the situation but would not conduct the ceremony if there was a death penalty for doing so.
In conclusion, loyalty to the state vs. loyalty to family is the best representation of the play because it is an argument between Antigone, being loyal to her family and Creon, being loyal to Thebes.
Although I had never read Sophocles’ original work for myself, I was already quite familiar with the story of the titular Oedipus, King of Thebes, when I was assigned to read it for English Literature class. Nevertheless, the play still managed to surprise me, particularly in its structure and characters.
The play begins well into Oedipus’ personal narrative. at this point, he has long since defeated the Sphinx by solving its famous riddle, married Queen Jocasta, become King of Thebes, and had several children. This was the first thing that struck me as surprising, as I expected the play to retell the whole story, starting with a baby Oedipus being given to a shepherd on the slopes of a mountain. Instead, the play is structured similarly to a classic whodunnit as Oedipus and Jocasta try to expose the murderer of King Laius.
I found Oedipus’ characterization to be largely consistent. He was represented as a brave and sympathetic man, albeit slightly dull and prone to fits of temper. The same can be said for the other characters prominently featured in the play, them being Jocasta, Creon, and Tiresias.
The role of the Chorus also came as a surprise. Originally, I had assumed that they served as a narrator of sorts explaining the events of the play but never acknowledged by the characters themselves. This was not the case, as they were instead written as a representation as the common people of Thebes, frequently interacting with the named characters.
I was particularly struck by the ending. Once the final twist was revealed, the main character emotionally falls to pieces, and the dialogue is so well written that every word Oedipus spoke felt like a punch in the gut. The conclusion of Oedipus Rex was extremely powerful, and provoked much more of an emotional response from me than I expected of an ancient Greek play.
The play has a lot of different instances where it touches philosophical themes but I want to focus on what Oedipus represents. As a puppet to the gods, Oedipus’ entire life had been written and could not change his fate as the prophecy described. He always thought that he made his own destiny and that his accomplishments were all his. This arises the question on whether our destiny is sealed or if our actions are our own. What Oedipus feels when he discovers everything is a reaction that I felt was quite real and strong. He felt destroyed and used. But what he did next was in a way understandable. He gouges his eyes out in a moment of adrenaline to show that the gods did not control every aspect of his life as he proceeded to say “I did this, me alone and my decision.” Showing his desperation on stating his point more to himself and the gods than the people. What I feel is that after the prophecy the gods were not involved on Oedipus’ life that much or even not at all, maybe making his action meaningless. Although he proved a point in that his action was not written, I feel like it was a little late and didn’t do much in proving all his point. Of course he did it for other reasons like not wanting to seeing the consequences of his actions but that could be easily fixed with exile. The point was never really concreted and when diving deeper it wasn’t that good per say.
In Oedipus The King, Sophocles invites readers to question if we control our fate or does fate controls us using Oedipus’s life.
When Oedipus was a prince in Cornith, he was told by prophecies from the gods that he would kill his father and marry his mother one day. (P.216) “Apollo told me once – it is my fate – I must make love with my own mother, shed my father’s blood with my own hands.” Thus, Oedipus tries to avoid the prophecy by leaving Cornith to move to another city named Thebes. But on his way to Thebes, Oedipus suddenly raged and killed a herald and a bunch of men. (P.206) Oedipus – “I killed them all every mother’s son.” Oedipus ended up being the king of Thebes, and from the later part of the play, we know that all prophecies did happen.
After reading this play, I often question if it is Oedipus’ fault for causing these tragic events to him or it is his destiny. From the background story, we know Oedipus wanted to go to Thebes because of the prophecies. He solved the riddle and became the king (P.182) “With no help from the birds, the flight of my intelligence hit the mark.” so was Oedipus actually intelligent or was it just his fate? Besides that, it is Oedipus’ destiny because he still killed his father and married his mother despite his parents and trying to avoid the prophecies by killing him. (P.208) “my son, poor defenceless thing, he never had a chance to kill his father. They destroyed him first.”
I believe or would like to believe that we can control our own fate, but from the play, Oedipus has no control over his own life and destiny even though he tried to avoid it.
Oedipus the king was an interesting play that really expanded my knowledge of ancient Greek life, drama and religion. The whole plot of Oedipus is very disturbing but was nevertheless interesting to read. The play is unlike anything I have ever read before, and is very different from stories I am used to reading. For instance, the choir is a very memorable part of the play because the meaning of the chorus isn’t always easy to understand, and can be very poetic. The characters in the play are well thought out and each have distinct personalities. Oedipus is a great example of this, because by the way he speaks and acts we can see that he is courageous and mostly polite, but has a very short temper and doesn’t like it when things don’t go his way. He likes to be in control of his life, but as we can tell from the prophecy, it seems that he isn’t.
The language was also quite unfamiliar to me. It wasn’t unfamiliar in the sense that I didn’t know the vocabulary being used, but was unfamiliar with the register (high register). The way the characters spoke to each other was very formal – most of the time – and old fashioned. Namely, people refer to Oedipus as “my king” and Oedipus refers to the people of Thebes as “my children”.
One of the biggest thoughts I had while reading this book is how much politics have changed. In the story, everyone bows down to Oedipus (even after certain people basically tell him he murdered Laius). In modern day, it takes a whole lot less than that to ruin someone’s career, especially a political leader.
The play was surprisingly enjoyable to read, and gave me some knowledge of ancient Greek life and drama. For those reasons, overall I liked the play.
I was impressed, the play in general has a lot of explicit details but just when you thought that the story couldn’t get worse, it gets ten times worse. By explicit details I mean that we know that Oedipus was told he was going to kill his father and marry his mother, that alone is crazy but in the end he ends up gouging out his own eyes with his dead wife’s jewelry. After Jocasta’s death, three out of the fourth children of Oedipus have either taken their own life or killed each other. So yes, this was a very explicit but somehow interesting book which I liked.
While reading through Oedipus the king, the plot slowly began unfolding itself. In the beginning, nothing seems to be clear even though the story had already been told in the first pages. This was quite interesting as the author made it possible to not let you off the hook. It was somewhat confusing as the plot jumped certain parts of the story without informing the readers in any way yet was able to connect the setting and tone back into the storyline. This was also done by portraying Oedipus’s feelings as his emotions and literary choices seemed very fitting to the scene, with him carrying the reader’s mood. This put all the attention on Oedipus’s choices bringing up a lot of stress-causing his confusion to lead to aggression. Which makes me wonder if Oedipus now stops all together believing his choices are already set in stone and therefore, we all have no saying in our life’s future? This even we don’t know centuries later as science has evolved. Is Oedipus to blame or is he just a pawn chosen to be unlucky even if undeserving?
After finishing reading Oedipus The King, I realised that Oedipus is the only main character. He was the person the whole story was build around. There were other very important characters like Jocasta or Creon, but Oedipus was definitely the centre of the story.
Throughout the play, he was arrogant and selfish most of the time. In comparison, Jocasta seemed to be a very polite and loving wife. Nevertheless, in the end of the play, Oedipus is horrified by his sins and claws out his eyes, and Jocasta commits suicide because she is so disgraced. The characters disappointed me with these actions, but at least it shows that Oedipus regrets his actions in the past.
I liked the end of the play more than the beginning (from p.200 on) because so many things happened and there were a lot of tensions between the different characters. Also, most conversations were between the single characters and the chorus did not appear as often anymore, which in my opinion made it more enjoyable to read.
Towards the end of story, “absurd” was the most powerful word that rung to me about Oedipus The King. This is most evident in our main character’s suffering, Oedipus. Despite being a hero by challenging the Sphinx attacking Thebes and respected by the citizens, I often finds it hard to believe that a man like him had to go through such great tragedy in his life. Therefore, I firmly believe Oedipus falls into the category of a “tragic hero”. The play also highlights an important notion of “the truth”. “The truth” can be defined, in the context of this play, as Oedipus’s search for his roots: how he was born and who his true parents was. In this search, Oedipus had prepared himself mentally for what was about to come, but never have expected it was right under his nose: that he killed his father at the crossroads a long time ago and married his mother unnoticed. This has led to his gruesome death at the end of the play. By being exposed to this particular notion, I have realized that “the truth” can be, more often than not, hurtful and unexpected.
I have found this play to connect strongly with a school of thought by Albert Camus, Absurdism. This philosophical school of thought implies that: any search for the meaning of life is meaningless, for we can never know why we exist inherently, therefore, absurd. Again, we can link back to Oedipus’s fate, that he have suffered for no reason. But when we extend our views broader, this philosophical idea makes more sense than we thought. If we consider the tragedies that happened in our life, we will find that sometimes, things happen for reasons that we can never understand. Despite how much we reason our way through, we will soon to meet the conclusion that things do happen, for no reason at all. Then, what we can really do at those moments of life is, to stare into the deep, endless hole of absurdity itself.
When reading the story Oedipus the King, my feelings and thoughts about this play were always changing. I felt confused or a bit lost at parts where I needed clarity (mostly when the chorus spoke), and I felt intrigued at parts where I was eager to find out how the character would respond to certain events.
Oedipus, the main character in this story, was a character I had many different emotions towards. I did not like his character and personality because of his arrogance and the way he thought so highly of himself. He definitely had a superiority complex, which caused me to think he was just a self centered and pompous human being. Although arrogant, he did seem considerate and compassionate. He cared deeply for Jocasta and for the citizens of Thebes. He still was attentive to his wife/mother and seemed genuine towards her. Also at times, I did feel bad for Oedipus. I could imagine how devastated he would be when he finally put the puzzle pieces together, but this led me to want to continue on reading to see how he would behave when the truth was finally revealed that he was the murderer.
I really enjoyed the irony in this story, Sophocles uses this irony to build tension because it makes the audience fully aware of what is going to occur, so they keep wanting to watch/read to find out what happens next. The audience wants to see how the characters will react. The effect of this irony was that it allowed me to have the sensation and satisfaction of already knowing how the story will unfold before the characters do.
Oedipus retells Apollo’s words “Death for the father-killer, the curse—…” (pg. 246 Sophocles). Reading this, I couldn’t help but realize the irony of the statement. Apollo was the creator of the prophecy and he is now sentencing him to be killed. The story portrays the cruelty of the greek gods in the way they mold humans to do certain things; only to have them killed. I was slightly perturbed by the use of language, seaming as it was very informal and unlike the time it took place. It is a translation so that does affect the language but even still, I believe that it should sound like older English considering how old the story really is. On the note of age, I was somewhat surprised by the ease in which the story told of a mother and son relationship because it shocked, surprised, and even made me feel uncomfortable to talk about. It leads me to wonder if the times were so different, or if Sophocles was the type of person to think of crooked stories like this. Reading the end of Oedipus the King, it finally dawned on me. Oedipus was a coward, from the start of the story to the end. In the beginning of the story, he gets told that he will kill his father and marry his mother. Instead of facing his parents and telling him what had happened with the oracle, he instead runs away. Oedipus was so caught up in fear, that he failed to realize; his foster parents might not be his real ones. Then again, when Creon accuses him of being the cities downfall, he fights back out of pure fear for his own life. In the end, he begs Creon to spare him and let him live in exile.
The progression of ideas in this story is interesting because of the way the author organized and putted all the events together. The author joined the events by using lots of descriptive language so that the reader can clearly understand what is happening in the story and he also used the Chorus so that it is easier to understand the change of scenes. It is easy to predict the end of this story, however, the author makes the story interesting by the different scenes, where lots of things are happening to Oedipus but in each scene, there is a different character who interferes with him and his life problems, which all of them are related to the prophecy. What it makes the story complex is that in every scene there is a deeper meaning that made me relate some events from the previous scenes, think about the character’s behaviour or think about what is going to happen next.
While reading the story of this play, I mostly enjoyed the later parts. This is because there was more action and was just more enjoyable to read in general. The majority of the reasons for this was that it was the climax of the story, the form of the paragraphs, and the lack of the “chorus”. Many things were going on. Oedipus was finding out that Polybus was not his father, and he was having a conversation with the messenger and his wife/mother Jocasta. These conversation were from page 216-232.
Character-wise, the only really main character was Oedipus. Throughout the story he was arrogant and a little bit naive as well. In the middle of the story he kept ignoring what everyone else was saying about how Polybus might not be his actual father and that he might have been the killer of Laius. He was brushing off what seemed to be obvious clues and hints. An example of this is on page 184.
Tiresais: ‘…Revealed at last, brother and father both to the children he embrace, to his mother son and husband both– he sowed the loins his father sowed, he spilled his father’s blood!'”
Ever since Oedipus solved a riddle to save the town he ruled, Thebes, he thinks that he is amazing at solving riddles. The irony that happens during this quote is funny because Oedipus thinks nothing of this.
This story is based in Greece. I would not want to live in this time because there is a lot of killing without guilt. Everybody kills as revenge.
The diction in this play is not formal nor super casual. It is more in the middle. The words are quite simple and easy to understand but the way that they are organized makes them sound more formal.
Oedipus the King is one of the three Theban plays written by Sophocles. It is about the sad story of Oedipus who is cursed by a prophecy to kill his father and marry his mother. It is full of lots of ironic moments and vile things. I enjoyed this story because it has a main character who does everything he shouldn’t do, and fascinating ancient settings.
An example of Oedipus the main character doing something which is the opposite of what he should have done is when Oedipus is told by a seer that he will kill his father and then in the next few pages he does. After being told that he will kill his father he runs away from home instead of talking to his parents who he suspected to not be his parents. The entire reason he went to the seer was because of his suspicion of his parents. This scene filled me with frustration and kept me hooked onto the story.
The story also takes place in Ancient Greece. Ancient greece is a place which i’ve never studied and obviously haven’t been to. Oedipus travels to many different cities in the story. Every time he goes to a new place, I imagine what the area looks like and how it was to live in those areas. It’s almost as if I took a tour bus through ancient Greece while reading Oedipus. This encouraged me to read more and find out more about these ancient times.
The story of Oedipus was very disturbing and extremely complicated because of all the emotions displayed. From love, sadness to hatred, disgust and horror. Oedipus was an interesting character who puzzled me the entire play because of the person he was. From the moment the Shepard had saved him from the mountainside and gave him to the King of Corinth, his whole life was just cursed. After all the tragic, terrible events that happened to him, I sympathized for the poor guy and all the terrible encounters he was constantly facing in his life. Just as he thought he was living his life with his love and children, little did he know what his future held. He was given the honour to be a king and help his people, and in an instant, it was all taken from him as if none of it even mattered. This story just shows that in a moment, everything around you can be taken from you. Oedipus had good intentions and intended good. But, in the end, his status was gone, and everything he loved and desired was also taken in one form or another, and he was left as a pathetic, disgraced man. Throughout the story, we start to understand who Oedipus is and his unique traits and how he did indeed actually have good intentions. This reminds me of the fact that sometimes people have good intentions and want to help others; however, life can switch up so fast, and next thing they know, everyone thinks of them as the bad guy when it wasn’t her fault.
This play’s main focus is Oedipus and how his life has played out, and how he is a puppet to the gods. Although Oedipus does some horrible things I can still sympathize for him, he never asked for his life to be a prophecy and never had any way to fix it for himself. He tries his best to fix this throughout the play, this is evident when he runs away from his adopted father and mother when he first learns about the prophecy, unfortunately, this is what led him to kill his father, solving the riddle, marrying his mother, and becoming king. Although he was born into this prophecy he still could have tried harder to avoid it, all he had to do was not kill anyone and not marry a woman who is old enough to be his mother and he then did both of those things very quickly. Oedipus was also very ignorant to the whole situation, he refused to see it for a while like when the blind man came and told him everything that had happened and instead of being calm and trying to understand the situation he lashed out at the man and Creon and even accused Creon of trying to take his place as king of Thebes. I feel like Oedipus has some issues controlling his temper, he would get angry very quickly and act out without thinking it through first. He was very metaphorically blind during almost the whole play, and by the end of it, he had physically blinded himself as his own consequence.
Oedipus the King, by Sophocles was, in the beginning, very puzzling to me, because I wondered how anyone in today’s world could relate to the characters in Oedipus in any way. Something that Mr.MacKnight had been hinting at throughout our class discussions. The more I read, however, the more I understood how writing analysts made the comparisons from Oedpius to modern mankind. It’s not common, of course, for someone in today’s world to kill their father and marry their mother along with all the other treachery Oedipus commits, but those are simply exaggerated metaphors for things we do see in today’s world. The largest piece of Oedipus that carries over into the modern era is his infamous stubborn unwillingness to see the truth (ignorance) and short temper. We see subtly this trait in Oedipus throughout the play but a time when it is clear is when Oedipus is speaking to a messenger from Corinth,
Oedipus: “What are you saying–Polybus was not my father?” Messenger: “No more than I am. He and I are equals.” Oedipus: “My father–how can my father equal nothing? You’re nothing to me!”
From this we can see both his ignorance, as he fails to understand he was adopted, and his fiery temper, as he lashes out at the messenger for simply trying to deliver the truth. I can see this in my life, specifically through one of my friends, who in math class will occasionally get a question wrong and instead of admitting to the mistake and correcting it they will defend their answer, thinking it’s the truth even when it’s not, as well as lashing out often with insults regarding my math. In conclusion many traits of Oedipus, including temper and ignorance can unfortunately be seen in our world today.
The entire play focuses on the main character: Oedipus, starting the search for the murder of his father Laius, which is not present in the thought out the play. Personally, I neither like, or dislike any of the characters, however, I do sympathise Oedipus, as in some ways he is like a “toy/character” cursed by the gods, my feeling could may grow stronger if I know I am in a simulation. Unlike the story/summary we initially read, the play has the part of the timeline in reverse order, an example is the play start with Oedipus call the search of the murder of his father, and the detail slowly unwrapping.The setting, and the time the play written is very different from now, the story, and the tradition in the time example: when a baby is born, and their partner wants to kill/abandon them, they tie the baby, and put them on a mountainside is inhumane, to say the least. The language of the play is very formal, and old-fashion. The tone of the play is registered in a high-register. The play, makes connections to the “big question” that was raised in the recent decade: Are we in a simulation, are we being controlled by someone else like we are in video games? Like Oedipus being cursed by the god.
The story of Oedipus the king is quite disturbing and just downright morbid. Although it is just a Greek tale, I feel sort of sympathetic towards Oedipus despite the things he’s done. Oedipus did not ask for the prophecy that made his life an absolute mess, and I want to feel bad for him because he tried so hard to run away from this prophecy, but you can’t escape your own fate. You can see this happening when he runs away from who he thinks is his mother and father to avoid killing them and bumps into his true father Laius, ending up killing him instead. When he thought he had beat the prophecy becoming the king of Thebes and settling down with his wife, once again the prophecy came for him again. Although it is not the exact same, the way that Oedipus was born into something he didn’t ask for, it reminds me of children that are born into less fortunate circumstances, who may or may not make it out of childhood, and if they do often carry burdens of their childhood that hold them back from achieving greater things in life. I think that’s why I have some sympathy for Oedipus, his story is not directly the same as the others I’m talking about, but the concept of being essentially “screwed” from the day of birth is what I’m trying to communicate. To conclude, I don’t think this story was made with the concept of being “screwed” from birth, but this has been an underlying issue since before the Greeks, and it is still something that happens today, your childhood environment can dictate your life in many ways, just like how Oedipus’ prophecy had dictated his life from birth.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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.