Antigone, by Sophocles, is a play that has three major themes. All three of these themes play a very important part in this play. The three major themes are fate, love, and pride. Oedipus had killed his father, king of Thebes, not knowing it was his father and then took over Thebes. He married Iocaste, queen of Thebes (his mother), and had four children; one was a girl named Antigone. When Oedipus had figured out who he was and what he had done he moved away and cut out his eyes. Iocaste’s cousin, Creon, had taken over as king of Thebes. He had made Oedipus’ two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, enemies of each other and they killed each other. Creon denied Polyneices proper burial because he was an enemy and that where this play begins.Fate is what had gotten the family of Oedipus where we begin this play. Fate is why Oedipus had killed his father, marry his mother, and then find out all about it. Fate then tortured Oedipus and he cut out his eyes. Fate had made Creon new king of Thebes and then have Oedipus’ sons kill each other. Antigone’s fate was to die trying to honor her dead brother and be loyal her family. In the first paragraph of the play it reads, “My darling sister Ismene, we have had a fine inheritance from Oedipus. God has gone through the whole range of sufferings and piled them all on us, -grief upon grief, humiliation upon humiliation”. This tells just how bad fate had treated the family of Oedipus. Creon’s fate though was to lose all of his family and live the rest of his life knowing it was his entire fault. In the end of the play Creon says, ” Nobody else to share the blame. Just me… I killed you. I killed you my dear.
Love is what had gotten Antigone in this problem. Her love for her brother was so great that she sacrificed her life for the respect that his deserved. Haemon’s love for Antigone had made him kill himself when he found her dead body. Creon’s wife’s love for Haemon had made her kill herself when she found out Haemon had killed himself. In the end because of all this Creon was the one that was denied love.
Pride is what had gotten Creon in the mess that he was in. His pride was so great that he couldn’t even admit that maybe he was wrong. In a conversation with his son Haemon, Creon said, “Am I to stand here and be lectured to by a kid? A man of my experience!” This just showed his pride stood in the way of even listening to his own son. Creon’s pride got in the way and because of his pride he ended up losing every thing that he loved.
In the end all of these themes were a great benefactor in the outcome of this play, but one stands out as the greatest. Fate had made all of this happen. Fate had made everything happen just as it did. They say you can never change your fate, well after this I know it is true.
Filed Under: Literature, Plays, Sophocles
Sophocles' Antigone - The Stubborn Antigone and Creon
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The Tragic Duo of Antigone and Kreon
In the play Antigone, both Antigone and Kreon could be considered tragic heros. A tragic hero, defined by A Dictionary of Literary, Dramatic and Cinematic Terms, is someone who suffers due to a tragic flaw, or hamartia. This Greek word is variously translated as "tragic flaw" or "error" or "weakness". Kreon's hamartia, like in many plays, is hybris - Greek for overweening pride, arrogance, or excessive confidence. Kreon's hybris causes him to attempt to violate the laws of order or human rights, another main part of a tragic hero. Also, like all tragic heroes, Kreon suffers because of his hamartia and then realizes his flaw.
The belief that Antigone is the hero is a strong one, but there is a stronger belief that Kreon, the Ruler of Thebes, is the true protagonist. Kreon's main and foremost hamartia was his hybris, or his extreme pride. Kreon was a new king, and he would never let anyone prove him wrong or let anyone change his mind once it was made. One main event that showed Kreon's hamartia and also caused the catastrophe was when he asked his son Haimon, who was engaged to marry Antigone, if he still loves his father. Haimon says he respects Kreon's ruling, but he feels, in this case, that Kreon was wrong. Haimon asks his father to take his advice and not have Antigone executed, but, because of Kreon's hybris, Kreon gets furious and makes the situation worse then it already was. He was way too proud to take advice from someone younger, and in his anger he decided to kill Antigone right away in front of Haimon's eyes. "'Just understand: You don't insult me and go off laughing. Bring her here! Let him see her. Kill her here, beside her bridegroom'" (Sophocles 919-921). This was too much for Haimon to take, and he runs out of the room, yelling, "'...her death will destroy others'" (Sophocles 908). Blinded by his pride and arrogance, Kreon takes that remark as a threat to himself, unknowing that it wasn't directed to himself, but was a suicide threat by his own son. Another example of Kreon's tragic pride is when the prophet, Teiresias, travels all the way to Thebes to tell Kreon very important news, but Kreon pride makes him ignore it and he accuses Teiresias of being bribed.
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Antigone Sophocles Creon Tragic Heros Hamartia Play Antigone Extreme Tragic Heroes Dictionary Bridegroom
Teiresias tells Kreon that the gods are angered by Kreon's disregard for their laws, and that Kreon should release Antigone and bury Polyneices. After Teiresias tells Kreon that he, the King of Thebes, has made a wrong decision, Kreon's tragic pride is shown again. Teiresias: 'Doesn't anyone know, won't anyone consider..' Kreon: 'Consider what? What universal truths are you going to proclaim?' Teiresias: '...how much more valuable than money good advice is?' Kreon: 'Or how much worse losing your judgement is?' (Sophocles 1210-1214) Teiresias, a blind prophet from Delphi whom has never been proven wrong, tells Kreon, "'All mankind is subject to error. Once a mistake is made... it is wise of him to make amends and not be unbending. Stubbornness is stupidity'" (Sophocles 1180-1184), but Kreon remains stubborn. "Teiresias: 'And tyrants love to have their own way regardless of right and wrong.' Kreon: 'Do you know who you're talking to? We're your rulers'" (Sophocles 1225-1228). Like all tragic heroes, Kreon must suffer because of his hamartia. After his anagnorisis, Greek for recognition, he realizes that he was filled with too much pride and that the prophet's prediction must be true. Kreon attempts to set things right, but unfortunately, does not in time. In a very ironic peripereia, Greek for reversal, his son commits suicide, as does his wife. This is all because of Kreon's tragic flaw: Pride. Kreon realizes this, and suffers, like all tragic heroes. Suffering is one of the main parts a tragic hero: realizing his or her tragic flaw when it's too late and suffering because of it. Kreon's realization of his flaw is very obviously shown when he says "'...I was wrong, not you'" (Sophocles 1464), and "'I have learned, I am ruined. It was a god. Then, right then! Hit me, held me, heaped heavy on my head...'" (Sophocles 1468-1469). His suffering is also obviously shown. "'Has someone a sword? I and grief are blended. I am grief'" (Sophocles 1502), "'Hurry, take me out of the way, I'm nobody. I'm nothing'" (Sophocles 1510-1511). Kreon is tragic hero because his actions follow the typical "tragic hero" outline. He had a hamartia, a tragic flaw, which was his pride and stubbornness, or hybris. He realized his hamartia, but unfortunately just too late, and suffered because of it. Now, "Suffering is his teacher". He has learned the hard way, but like all tragic heroes, he has learned. Kreon's character followed the basic outline of a tragic hero. Critics to this day still argue about who is the tragic hero of Antigone, Antigone herself, or Kreon. From what I have found, Kreon seems like the perfect "Tragic Hero" because he fits all the requirements of a tragic hero. Antigone, on the other hand, does not. She does not realize her hamartia, and while Kreon must live with what he has done, Antigone is dead. Death, which ceases her suffering, letting her rest for infinity.