Antigone Critical Essays
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- The manifestation of violence in Antigone Essay
The manifestation of violence in Antigone Essay
The notion of violence by means of theme, language, staging, chorus and characterization is manifested in Sophocles’ Antigone. As suggested by Hannah Arendt (1969: 243) in her essay On Violence, “violence cannot be derived from power, in order to understand it, we must examine its roots and nature.” Violence can only be discussed when accompanied by a discussion of power. Walter Benjamin states “violence can first be sought only in the realm of means, not of ends” (1921:277) and relates violence to law and justice. This means that violence is the development of a violent act, not the act itself. Both texts agree that violence is a process not a specific event. This essay will examine and apply, in theatrical terms, the
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Isemene is a clear character that is in fear of the consequences of disobeying Creon’s decree. She says, “Our own death would be if we should go against Creon.” (Line 45) Creon uses his Power as a device of ruling over the people of Thebes, “…Rule is there because of the instinct of domination” (Arendt 1969:237). Creon is in a place of supremacy as king, thus dominates over his people.
Violence in Antigone is never explicitly shown, it is divulged in the text through what is said by Creon’s messenger and the chorus. We hear of Antigone’s death through the chorus and staging wise- Haemon, son of Creon is heard crying offstage as he kills himself.
The act of going against Creon’s proclamation is indeed an act of violence. “Violence is never possible without instruments” (Arendt 1969: 238) Creon declaring that
Essay on Antigone
The main theme for Antigone is that people sometimes have to learn the hard way from
their mistakes. This theme is expressed in the final four lines of the play. They read, There is no
happiness where there is no wisdom; No wisdom but in submission to the gods. Big words are
always punished, And proud men in old age learn to be wise. These lines are an important part of
the play. They symbolize Creon’s bad decisions, his defiance of the gods, the punishment he
went through because…Read MoreWords: 1696 – Pages: 7
Essay on Antigone
Sophocles’ theme is traversed throughout the trilogy showing how Sophocles views a tragic hero. It is essential to first know the background information behind Antigone in order to fully comprehend the story. Two new characters are introduced in the previous play, Oedipus in Colonus. The story, Oedipus Rex, leaves off with Creon banishing Oedipus from Thebes. Because of his suffering, Oedipus exits Thebes as a humbled and god-centered individual. At the time, society expected the son to foster…Read MoreWords: 2427 – Pages: 10
Essay Antigone: Absolute Power Corrupts
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” said Lord Acton generations ago. In the Greek tragedy Antigone, written by Sophocles, there was a character named Kreon, the antagonist, who was the king of Thebes. Thebes was an autocratic state where Kreon had absolute power. Throughout the course of the play, Kreon abused his privilege of absolute power; and this caused him to suffer greatly, even though he was warned by a few people of his bad deeds. What Sophocles commented on absolute…Read MoreWords: 1619 – Pages: 7
Quote | Comments | Analysis |
1. “And now what is the proclamation that they tell of made lately by the commander, publicly,/to all people? Do you know it? Have you heard it?/Don’t you notice when evils due to enemies/are headed towards those we love?”Line 8-12 | Antigone speak to Ismene about their brother Polyneices, that it is unfair to unbury him. Also she refers to the situation of the evil, cursed their father Oedipus who had been expelled outside from Thebes. | |
2…Read MoreWords: 611 – Pages: 3
Western Perspectives I
The play Antigone by Sophocles is unquestionably a tragedy, however the question remains: whose tragedy is it? In essence, is it a tragedy for one or two characters in the play or is it rather a tragedy for the entire populace of the city of Thebes? It is a tragedy in varying degrees, from somewhat tragic to extremely tragic. Analyzing the play it is easy to see tragedy from beginning to end. It’s also simple to see all main characters and even those in the background…Read MoreWords: 989 – Pages: 4
In Antigone, by Sophocles, two sisters, Ismene and Antigone, have two different views on what it means to be human. Ismene understand “being human” or “life” in a biological sense. She believes in continuing, by being a female, in continuing the family bloodline. Antigone however, understands “being human” in a sense of family honor and reputation. Both are important, but neither is right nor wrong. Creon, the ruler, has his own views on how to rule the city. He believes that he is in charge and…Read MoreWords: 762 – Pages: 4
Being a part of a family forces one to have responsibilities and duties that are needed to be fulfilled. In Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone, Antigone has the responsibility of being loyal to her brother, Polynices. Her intuition and strong will discourages her from listening to the power of the state, thus disobeying part of her family, to respect her immediate family. Her devotion leads to the destruction of Creon and herself…Read MoreWords: 2088 – Pages: 9
Essay on Antigone – a Search for Justice
Sophocles’ Antigone, Antigone is a rebellious character who has high morals and, by following these morals, disobeys the laws of Creon in his “just” system of government and creates problems for herself and those around her in her search for justice. The “justice” in this story could be called injustice in today’s society, since people demand fair trials and just laws, neither of which is shown in Antigone under Creon’s rule. This lack of justice makes the need of a character like Antigone, who openly…Read MoreWords: 627 – Pages: 3
The Source of Conflict between Antigone and Creon in Sophocles’ Antigone
The Source of Conflict between Antigone and Creon in Sophocles’ “Antigone”
In the following paper, I plan to discuss the source of conflict between the title characters of Antigone and Creon in Sophocles’ “Antigone”. I also plan to discuss how each character justifies his or her actions and what arguments they give for their justifications. I will also write about the strengths and weaknesses of these arguments. The final points I try to make are about who Sophocles thinks is right and who I…Read MoreWords: 1259 – Pages: 6
Based on the Greek play, Antigone.
If you have no pride than life is not worth living, but too much of a good thing will kill you. Excessive pride, also known as hubris, is often used in tragedies like Antigone. Most often, this will lead to a change in fortune due to this tragic flaw. This can be portrayed through the characters Antigone and Creon. It is important to take into consideration of the fact that pride is like a dark evil in…Read MoreWords: 773 – Pages: 4
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The Oedipus myth was well known even in Sophocles’ day, so his audience already knew what would happen at the end of Antigone. The contrast between what the audience knows and what the characters know sets up the tension, the dramatic irony. However, Sophocles uses dramatic license and adds events that are not found in any previous account of the myth, including the quarrels between Antigone and Ismene, Antigone’s two attempts to bury Polynices, Antigone’s betrothal to Haemon, the entombment of Antigone, Tiresias’s argument with Creon, and the suicides. These added events serve to intensify the play.
Although the last play in the Oedipus trilogy, Antigone was written first. The play won for Sophocles first prize at the Dionysia festival. It is still a popular play, with many stage and screen adaptations, including Jean Anouilh’s famous stage production Antigone (pr. 1944, pb. 1946; English translation, 1946), placing the story in a World War II setting, and Amy Greenfield’s 1990 stark, interpretive dance-film version (Antigone—Rites of Passion).
The conflicts within the play, represented by the conflicts between Antigone and Creon, are powerful human struggles that are still relevant today: the state versus the individual, the state versus family, the state versus the church, the old versus the young, and man versus woman. Although the Chorus delivers the moral of obedience to the laws of the gods before all else, the moral is not a tidy conclusion. Many questions remain unanswered, many conflicts unresolved. For example, when is family more important than the state? In ancient Greece, it was the duty of women to bury family members. Leaving Polynices unburied was a violation of not only the laws of the gods but also the laws of the family. In addition, Creon was willing to put his own niece, and his son’s fiancé, to death. After a brutal civil war, however, restoring order is the responsibility of the king. When, and to what extent, do the laws of the gods and of the state override the laws of the family?
Connected to the above themes is the theme of choices and consequences. The characters in the play have free will to choose, but the consequences of their choices are guided by fate—determined by the gods. To what extent, however, do the characters truly have free will? Antigone’s conscience is pressured by the demands of family tradition and obedience to the gods, while Creon is tasked with preserving law and order. How much is each bound by their position in society, or by their conscience? Both Antigone and Creon stick stubbornly to what they feel are logical choices—but they are limited in their knowledge and cannot foresee all the consequences of their choices. Too often they stubbornly refuse to listen to council, which tries to guide them in their choices. Had Antigone and Creon listened more, the tragedies may have been averted, but each would have had to sacrifice some pride as well as give up a little of who they are.
Antigone is a complex play, one that defies ready interpretation. It is a study of human actions, with complex emotions. Each character represents a moral ideal, a moral argument, and the play becomes a great debate. The two major debaters in the play, Antigone and Creon, are both destroyed at the end, leaving the debate with no clear winner. Antigone demands its audience to continue the debate.
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What is the nature of rebellion in Antigone?
Rebellion is shown to be something that resides in the most basic expressions of one’s state of being in the world. Sophocles, through Antigone as a character, shows how individuals must act upon…
What happens to all the characters in Antigone?
This play isn’t called a tragedy for nothing. At the end of the play, Antigone commits suicide, hanging herself. Haemon, upon finding out about Antigone’s death, attempts to stab his father, and…
How is Antigone a tragic hero?
A tragic hero is the character in a tragedy that experiences a downfall because of some kind of flaw. This flaw is called the tragic flaw. Antigone is considered the hero of the play, and she has…
What is the difference between Antigone and Ismene? How is Ismene a foil to Antigone?
Antigone is certainly much bolder and more independent than her sister is. In the play’s Prologue after Ismene tells Antigone that her plan to bury their brother’s body is impossible, Antigone…
Why does Antigone feel it is her duty to bury Polynices?
There are several reasons why Antigone feels that it is her responsibility to bury Polynices.
First, we need to remember that Polynices is Antigone’s brother. So, she feels a strong attachment to…
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