Antigone Summary Essay Example
Antigone Summary Essay Example

Antigone Summary Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (953 words)
  • Published: March 30, 2017
  • Type: Overview
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Antigone, penned by Sophocles, is a theatrical piece rich in themes. Therefore, I will be discussing these themes, inclusive of state laws versus individual rights, morality, obstinacy, and love, as perceived through the lens of various critics. Antigone's principles are synonymous with the initial part of these theme pairs while Creon's ideals correspond to the latter. Ismene opts for inaction in the face of legal implications while Antigone boldly acts regardless of potential repercussions. Both Antigone and Creon fervently advocate what they believe to be just, however, their interpretations of justice are guided by their unique value systems.

In the play Antigone, Creon eventually realizes his errors, acknowledging that his actions brought about the demise of his son and wife. Antigone, in contrast, believes that she must go against Creon's directives, contending that any human law


that infringes on religious law can not be considered legitimate. The core ethical debate within Antigone revolves around the clash between physis (nature) and nomos (law), with physis inevitably prevailing. "Throughout the play Antigone, the king Creon embodies nomos, while Antigone represents physis.

The recurring motif of light and dark imagery is utilized to represent these concepts and help reinforce the theme. Throughout the play, the chorus continuously alters its views, initially supporting Creon's actions in relation to nomos, then expressing uncertainty, and ultimately recognizing that Antigone's behavior aligns more closely with divine morality and the realities of physis. The ebb and flow of light and dark symbols emotionally underscore the perspective of the chorus, highlighting their shifting allegiances throughout different points in the play" (Wilf 1).

The initial scenes in the play present images of ligh

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and darkness, illustrating Creon's reign. These scenes transition into ambiguous and ironic middle sections, and ultimately culminate in the gods siding with Antigone's deeds over those of Creon. This divine choice leaves Creon emotionally barren while he bears the consequences of his ill-judged decisions and actions. Antigone's tenacity and perseverance disrupt the established order, leading to a lingering impact and potency of the play. Though Creon errs in punishing her, his stance can be empathized with. Antigone still remains one of literature's finest pieces to date.

The account captivates the reader with a final glimpse of Oedipus, a place where things are never as they ought to be. My premier critic noted that the situation was heightened due to Creon's imposed law and Antigone's convictions. He highlighted Antigone's unyielding determination adds another theme which evolves during the course of the play. It underscores that Antigone knowingly takes the risk of death in performing her brother's burial rites and opts for lying with the corpse rather than presenting an apology to Creon. This explicates that Antigone consciously mingles life with death.

In his perspective, Antigone's actions yield an ambience reminiscent of Oedipus the King, which he amplifies as the genesis of tragedy's immorality. He perceives that Sophocles intended audiences to morally endorse Antigone's stand, yet according to his personal standpoint, both Antigone and Creon are guilty of flouting the law in their distinct ways. He postulates that Creon transgressed divine laws by implementing his own, while Antigone violated the latter by adhering to her moral compass. To him, the clear-cut and dominant stance each character represents in the play is solid evidence that the issue was already fully

formed in the playwright's mind.

He ultimately deduced that it stands out as the only Greek tragedy where the principal themes represent a realistic ethical dilemma related to issues of morality and political perspectives, applicable to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time. The subsequent critic initiated his analysis with a query- was Antigone a valiant, heroic casualty or a prejudiced, obstinate individual responsible for the demise of two guiltless individuals? Interestingly, his responses characterized Antigone as being the inaugural heroine in western plays while concurrently labeling her as obstinate and incorrect; a combination of two wrongs that fails to constitute a right.

Furthermore, he perceives Antigone as an outcast, detached from the gods and her peers. He contends that Antigone and Creon stand at the heart of the show due to their devotion to their household and responsibilities to the city-state. His illustrations are founded on the metaphor Creon employs in speaking about the state, a state he believes must function efficiently for citizens to understand friendship's worth, while Antigone is primarily worried about her father's household. He elaborates that the play's drama and discussions provide compelling arguments for both familial ties and allegiance.

The speaker observes that Sophocles's position in Antigone is complex, marked by conflict arising from scenes portraying elders as the chorus of the play who, because of Creon's oppressive rules, are incapable of decision-making. He surmises that while the play maintains its popularity and significance, it does not convey a universal resolution. Strikingly, he emphasizes that Antigone portrays a potential and tragic consequence of personal and political conflict. In his final observations, he posits that this interpretation of the play bears significant

relevance to contemporary society.

Another reviewer concurs with previous critics emphasizing that the predominant theme of the play is the clash between Antigone and Creon. In his interpretation, this struggle is portrayed as a dispute between two kinds of entitlements - the rights of an individual versus the rights of the state. Therefore, he concludes that regardless of context, the matter is resolved in favor of Antigone without relying on concrete facts, and even though complete disaster strikes Creon and his family, it doesn't spare Antigone from her fate either.

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