Character Analysis Of Antigone

  • Words 943
  • Pages 2
Download PDF

​Sophocles shows the fallacy of the position of both opponents, that each of them defends a just cause, but defends it unilaterally. “Antigone” represents a clash of equally fair principles: state interest and family interest; both parties are equally right and at the same time wrong because of their one-sidedness. The destruction of Creon is worse than physical death. However, in this tragedy there is the only winner – Antigone, who by her death predetermined the inevitable end of the tyrant who corrected all the laws of gods and justice.

​Antigone represents the ideal of love for parents and noble selflessness, which led her to a tragic death. Creon exclusively for demagogical and pedagogical purposes ordered half of the enemies (supposedly the remains of a patriot) to be buried with honors, and the other half (supposedly the remains of a traitor) should be left in the desert for predators to eat. In fact, both acts are state conventions, and only one thing is most important here: the authorities are lying and at the same time require that their lies be recognized as true under pain of death. The paradox is that the seemingly weak, naive Antigone, even in the face of death, is omnipotent and the seemingly powerful dictator Creon has become a miserable powerless exhortator of the crowd. In quantitative terms, the role of Antigone is very small – only about two hundred verses, almost two times less than that of Creon. Moreover, the entire last third of the tragedy, leading the action to the denouement, takes place without her participation. Antigone appears before the viewer with an already matured, irrevocably adopted decision, and no one cares how or when it arose. For all that, Sophocles not only convinces the viewer of the correctness of Antigone, but also inspires him with deep sympathy for the girl and admiration for her selflessness, intransigence, fearlessness.

Click to get a unique essay

Our writers can write you a new plagiarism-free essay on any topic

​The image of Antigone reveals the essence of crime and punishment, the tragedy of a person (Creon) (in that he did not listen to anyone). He misunderstood his rights and overestimated his capabilities. In emotional terms, the most tragic in the fate of Antigone is the unjust sentence of Creon, even physical death is not the main tragedy of Antigone: she was ready for both, in emotional terms she perceives the complete loneliness in which she finds herself; more precisely, which Sophocles creates around her. Meanwhile, Antigone is not at all as lonely as she thinks: the demon referring to the ‘popular opinion’, which considers the girl worthy of the death penalty, not the death penalty, but the greatest glory. Also, the choir does not play any significant role in Antigone; songs, however, do not break away from the course of action and more or less adjoin drama situations. Of particular interest is the first stasim, in which the power and ingenuity of the human mind, conquering nature and organizing social life, is glorified. The choir ends with a warning: the power of the mind leads a person to both good and evil; therefore, traditional ethics should be followed (Gale). This song of the choir, which is extremely characteristic of the whole worldview of Sophocles, is like an author’s commentary on the tragedy, explaining the poet’s position on the conflict of “divine” and human law.

​Antigone defends her righteousness before Creon: the order of a mortal (such as Creon) cannot abolish the unwritten but strong divine laws that command her to fulfill a sacred kinship duty and betray a person to be buried by her blood. Defending the old tribal customs, she at the same time, in a peculiar form, affirms the priority of universal human values. The unusually sincere, deeply touching complaints of Antigone occupy a very important place in the structure of the tragedy. First of all, they deprive her of the image of any raid of sacrificial asceticism that could arise from the first scenes where she so often confirms her readiness for death.

​On the other hand, it becomes clear to an unbiased reader that the only positive (and sacrificial) hero of the tragedy is Creon – a man who, in the name of the Fatherland and his people, is trying alone to confront the gods and a crowd of narcissists focused only on their absurd desires of egoists. And the first among those arrogant Antigone. She is only interested in her personal fantasies divorced from reality, and no persuasion or explanation can stop her destructive antisocial attacks. In fact, Antigone is even more a traitor than her dead brother, who sent an army of thugs to Thebes for the sake of the throne. After all, the whole tragedy of Creon speaks precisely of the need for peace in Thebes and, therefore, of the cruel punishment of traitors in order to prevent the possibility of new betrayals.

​Antigone appears before the audience as a full-blooded, living person, who is neither alien in thoughts nor in feelings human. The more saturated the image of Antigone with such sensations, the more impressive is its unwavering loyalty to its moral duty. It seems that Sophocles quite consciously and purposefully forms an atmosphere of imaginary loneliness around his heroine, because it is in such an environment that her heroic nature is most pronounced. Antigone mourns not for his parting with Gemon, but for the unfortunate share of any girl who is forced to say goodbye to life, not fulfilling her destiny in it. Such a generalized image, individualizing in a specific situation, captivates the reader: every girl who goes to execution will mourn her share in the same way as Antigone, but not everyone will be able to take on such a share.  


We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.