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Antigone Essay, Research Paper


Stubbornness could be a virtue, but many times it could be a fatal flaw. In the play Antigone by Sophocles, the heroine displays her obstinacy which ultimately results in death for her. At the opening of the tragedy, Creon and Antigone are in conflict. Antigone s two brothers have died in a war over the control of the state, leaving Creon at the head of state. Creon in penalizing the leader of the revolt left the one brother unburied outside the gates. Antigone in her desire to bury her brother chooses to break Creon s law and enshrine him. If Antigone exercised some caution in her actions, she might still be alive today.

Antigone s first concern was to show respect for her brother at his time of death. To have left unburied her brother would be to tell the world that one, she did not care for her sibling and two, she did not respect what her brother s cause was, namely, the control of the state. Antigone understood the consequences because Creon had decreed that those persons who attempted to bury the rebels would also be put to death. Perhaps it is the spirit of Greek tragedy that death should cause more death, but it is also in the spirit of family unity to respect in death as it is to respect in life. Antigone attempts to recruit her sister Ismene to assist her in burying their brother. Ismene declines and additionally warns Antigone not to disobey Creon s rule in fear of the consequences. Antigone cannot heed her sister s advice and in her stubbornness rashly proceeds with her own plan to bury her brother.

One of the first signs of Antigone being stubborn is when Antigone contradicts Creon with such remarks as Your conversation is Hardly something I enjoy, or could . This remark is typical of Antigone s character, once again illustrating her doggedness as well as her veracity, as she perceives it. Other dialogue depicting inflexibility includes I never thought that your edicts had such force They nullified the laws of heaven, which, Unwritten, not proclaimed, can boast A currency that everlasting . These statements were made in the second episode where Antigone ridicules Creon. Later, she pays for her actions. Of course Creon was stubborn, but his obstinacy did not compare to the ways of Antigone. At times Creon would not listen to the prophet Tiresias or his son Haemon. Remarks such as Enough! You make me furious with such Doddering senile remarks. Insufferable illustrate Creon s obdurance. Creon also was never willing to compromise, but this is excused by the way Antigone contradicts Creon. An example of this is when Creon is furious and he exclaims You really think they give two hoots, the gods, About the corpse? Antigone was so persistent that she was not even remorseful about the burial of her brother. She acted brave and tough as if she could face death in the eyes. She responded by ridiculing Creon as if Creon was the one to die. She did not respect Creon at all. Being so headstrong she did not respect the power that Creon possessed and therefore answered for it with death.

Similarly, another component of the story is when Antigone s sister Ismene wants to participate in the tragedy. Ismene feels that it is her duty and destiny to die with Antigone. Antigone wants Ismene to avoid participating now because she would not support Antigone before. An illustration of this is when Ismene voices her opinion by stating Poor dear sister-let me suffer with you! . Antigone responds outright No. For you chose life and I chose death . This also portrays the stubbornness of Antigone. Antigone rejects her sister outrightly. She selfishly wants all the glory for being the one to die for her brother.

Ultimately Antigone must die by the law of Creon. Creon sentences Antigone to confinement in a cave. While waiting for her final punishment, Antigone chooses to take her own life by hanging herself instead of dying by the sword of Creon. Antigone s obstinacy resulted in her tragic death. In a final twist of Sophocles tragedy, we learn that Creon would spare Antigone s life. Unfortunately, it is too late and Antigone has perished. The story of Antigone demonstrates that stubbornness can be a detrimental and even fatal characteristic in a person.

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