Antigone and Creon
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Antigone and Creon are the main characters of the play Antigone by Sophocles. Both of them are strong-willed. Antigone and Creon had to come head-to-head in a power struggle. They both are determined and base their actions on own believes concerning what is wrong and what is right. The main objective of this paper is to compare and contrast these characters. Their ideals clashed and this fact made a contradiction between their morals.
Antigone’s fate seems to be imbedded from the very prologue. She is a daughter of the previous king, and her brothers died fighting for the throne. From the very beginning, it is shown that Antigone is more devoted to family than Creon. Antigone declares that she will bury the body of her brother Polyneices despite any laws that have been passed by Creon (31, 2). Antigone believes that by respecting the family memory she remains faithful to gods. She was very religious and fiercely devoted to gods. That is why the ceremony of her brother’s burial was of crucial importance to her. If a person is not given a proper burial, he/she will not be accepted to heaven. Antigone believes that the law imposed by Creon is specifically passed to her. It becomes obvious when she speaks with Ismene about martial law of Creon, which was laid on her (37-38, 3). Antigone shows this attitude when she is captured and brought to see Creon. She agrees that she dared to defy the law (II, 356, 14). Antigone explain to Creon that the laws of God are much stronger than the laws of any king (II, 360-364, 14). When Antigone is captured and sentenced to death, she feels like Creon is her personal prisoner as he abuses his power. Consequently, her death gives Creon everything (II, 396, 15).
On the other side, Creon as Antigone’s uncle looks very strong and powerful. However, he has a weary and wrinkly nature. He is very practical and that is why he distances his life from the tragedy of Oedipus and all his line. From the very beginning, Creon takes the position of lawmaker. He imposes a very cruel but obvious law. Readers understand that everyone was hateful to Oedipus, Antigone’s father, which explains Creons’ behavior (37, 3). The only thing which interests Creon is political and social order. On the other hand, Creon uses it to explain the reason why Polyneice’s body was left unburied. He states that the traitor will never be honored (I, 175, 8). Creon gains the position of an absolute tyrant. He refuses to understand the bond of family love and rejects irrational gods’ laws despite the fact that gods showed Antigone their support. It is obvious when the nature helps to erase the footprints near Polyneice’s body after Antigone left the dust for the first time. The gods’ support was also shown when the storm raged outside the Thebes (II, 330, 13). Creon is afraid of appraisals dedicated to Antigone, because even his son believes that she dooes not deserve the death (V, 782-783, 30). However, Creon becomes less extreme with time. He even wanted to release Antigone, but he was late, and this fact made his son, wife and niece commit suicide (V, 1010, 39). At the end, Creon suffers a lot from his rash actions and decisions.
The play shows that Antigone has a strong position of being loyal to gods and family bounds. She is also a symbol of female revolt as she opposes herself to a strong man who believed that she was just an overemotional woman. Antigone is very proud; she does not waive her actions, stays faithful and is not afraid of danger, even understanding the consequences (80, 5). Creon is a proud ruler and lawmaker. His position is strong and he is ready to execute everyone who disobeys hum. However, when he finally decided to save Antigone, he was too late.
At first sight, it seems that Antigone suffers more than Creon. She lost her father, brothers and had no possibility to bury Polyneice according to the general rules. However, later it becomes obvious that Antigone is ready to die. She describes death as her future husband. Actually, she has nothing to lose. On the other side, Creon was not ready to see all his family members committing suicide. He is left all alone to understand his guilt and the consequences of his actions. His downfall, as a matter of fact, becomes a symbol of tragedy, which happens when human laws try to compete with gods’ laws.