Antigone by Sophocles | Summary & Analysis

who is the tragic hero in antigone
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lets review the plot summary of Sophocles Antigone in the introduction to Antigone Thebes has been invaded by Argos during the battle two of Oedipuss sons died fighting on opposite sides atiek leaves for thebes and Polynices for Argos Creon their uncle emerges as the new leader of Thebes the play opens with Oedipuss two daughters Antigone and Ismene II discussing the deaths of their brothers in the rising action of the play Antigone is enraged at Crayons proclamation that Polynices is not to receive a burial or funeral rites while Atia Cleese is to be given an honorable funeral Creon has also decreed that anyone who interferes with this law will be publicly stoned to death and tne claims that Crayons law is unjust since the gods decree that every mortal must be given a proper funeral she tells his Monnaie that she plans to bury their brothers body and give him his funeral rites even if shes punished his bday refuses to help fearing Creons punishment she reminds Antigone that their family has suffered enough tragedy Antigone disagrees claiming not to care if shes punished she would welcome death in exchange for standing up for her beliefs guards catch Antigone when she revisits the grave shes prepared for her brother brought before Creon she freely admits what shes done and welcomes punishment she defends her actions by claiming she has honored the gods whose laws are more important than mortal lungs Creon is enraged at her defiance and confirms her death sentence even though shes engaged to his son Heymann his many lies to Creon claiming to be her sisters accomplice Creon declares that hell have them both killed but Antigone refutes his manase story Heymann tells Creon that he loves him but disagrees with Antigones punishment as does most of thieves who view Antigone as a hero and martyr they argue heated they heman disowns crayon and warns him that Antigones death were result in another death and take any laments that shell never Wed and that shell die alone friendless and without help Creon has her led away to be entombed alive in a cave the blind prophet Tiresias arrives and warns Creon that he saw in a prophecy that the gods are furious with him he urges Creon to free Antigone before its too late Creon is outraged at Tiresias his advice accusing him of taking a bribe in retaliation Teresa tells him now its too late Creon will be punished

by having his sons taken away from him Creon realizes that tiresias is serious and acts quickly to do as he advised in the plays climax a messenger arrives at the palace and announces that Heymann killed himself after he found Antigone hanging from a noose in the cave Creon had arrived at the cave just in time to witness his son and hes inconsolable Crayons wife Eurydice emerges from the palace to hear the messengers story then returns to the palace and silence a distraught Creon returns carrying Hemans corpse the messenger emerges from the palace and informs Creon that Eurydice has killed herself and the place falling action Creon is miserable finally realizing hes brought all this tragedy on himself in the plays resolution the chorus sings an ode about the importance of obeying the gods and staying humble in order to gain wisdom lets review some of the characters in Sophocles Antigone Antigone is Oedipuss daughter and the niece of Creon who is the new king of Thebes Antigone is also engaged to Creon son Heymann she defies Crayons order that her brother Pauline I seize his body remain unburied even though the punishment is death she believes that honoring the gods is more important than mortal laws and she admits that shes prepared to die for this belief after shes caught burying her brother she defies Creon who sentences her to be shut in a cave and left to die human comes to rescue her but she has already killed his men a Antigone sister refuses to help Antigone bury their brother for fear of the punishment attached to disobeying crianza Proclamation she believes enough tragedy has befallen their family but when Antigone has caught burying and giving funeral rites to Polynices isnt a falsely confesses to having helped her she does this out of loyalty and love for her sister Antigone refuses to let this life stand as it might offend the gods Creon is Oedipuss brother Antigone and Ismene As uncle and Hemans father he is also the newly appointed king of Thebes and he believes that his laws are the ultimate authority he disagrees with Antigones justifications for burying her brother and his arrogance results in the deaths of everyone he loves Heymann son of Creon and Eurydice Heymann is engaged to marry Antigone Heymann advises Creon to be lenient with Antigone since the citizens of Thebes do not support Creons decision Heymann ultimately disowns his father and dies

by his own hand angry and distraught over Antigones death the chorus composed of a group of elderly male citizens and a leader who speaks for them the chorus offers narration and judgments about the characters actions at first deferential toward the new king the chorus eventually tries to persuade him to moderate his harsh rulings and to heed Tiresias and fight lets review the main symbols in Antigone Tiresias points out the situational irony to Creon that he has chosen to bury Antigone alive underground while he allows her brothers corpse to remain unburied above ground Tiresias highlights the unexpected juxtaposition in Creons decision to flout the law of the Gods which decrees that bodies are to be given proper burials and funeral rites not only does Creon refused to honor the gods decree but he has also buried a living person someone whose disobedience comes from following the Gods will so he is quite wrong when he states that no person has the power to pollute the gods on the contrary by insisting on strict adherence to his laws Creon brings pollution on Thebes both literally by allowing a corpse to rot and metaphorically by incurring the wrath of the gods who punished not only Creon but also Thebes as a whole in this way burials become symbols of the place central conflict between religious devotion and civic duty birds appear in the place symbolically as fierce scavengers protectors and agents of prophecy the chorus mentions that since Polynices body is left in the open his corpse will be torn apart by birds the guard also paints a vivid picture of Antigone as looking like a bird when she hovers over the corpse of her brother trying to protect his body lastly Tiresias tells a vivid tale about Crayons future when he hears two birds fighting one killing the other he mentions that these are the very same birds that are feasting on Polynices corpse lets review the main themes of Antigone Creon orders Polynices body to remain unmarried and without funeral rites which is a direct disobedience of the Gods will Creon believes that the only way the citizens will respect him is if he upholds the laws he creates Antigone on the other hand believes that Creons law is unjust and she honors the gods by honoring their law and burying her brother properly she claims my honors for the dead must last much longer than for those up here meaning that her

loyalty is greater to the gods and her family than to the ruler of her city-state Creon ultimately comes to realize that his law has only served to anger the gods they punish him with his own sons death from the beginning its clear that Antigone has an unbending devotion to family and to the gods this devotion surpasses civic duty to the leader of her state or his laws her sister is many illustrates the struggle that arises when spiritual devotion is set against loyalty to government Creon the source of is manase call to civic duty is as unbending in his adherence to mortal law as Antigone is in her devotion to the gods Creon believes that disobeying his laws results in a just punishment and this is his rationale for sentencing Antigone to death hes blind to familial and divine devotion in his desire to secure his peoples loyalty to him Antigones courage is based on her convictions she stands firm in the face of her tragic fate and against Creons edicts and blatant disdain for women Antigones fate reflects the tragic curse of her father Oedipus even as the chorus applauds Antigone for trying to take her fate into her own hands it understands that she ultimately will pay for her fathers actions crayons laws mean nothing to Antigone when they fly in the face of her devotion to family and to the gods Creon seems even more determined to punish Antigone when he declares that hell never let some woman beat us down Antigone who has been called an early feminist hero scoffs as such statements fearless in the face of anything she views as unjust neither Antigone nor Creon shows flexibility in the play while Antigones and flexibility may be based more on strong convictions than on stubbornness Creon stubbornness is hard to deny above all else he demands to be obeyed even when he places himself above the gods by showing some flexibility Creon might have saved himself and his family he loses everyone he loves due to his arrogance and hubris and even though he hopes that gods have set things right again in the end its too late the wheels of fate have already been set in motion lets review the main motifs in Antigone Tiresias advises Creon that there is still time to avoid tragedy when Tiresias cautions Creon that his luck is once more on fates razor edge this image suggests a precarious position if

appease the gods and his actions his delicate balance on fates razor edge will falter many characters in Antigone make metaphoric references to ships and sailing the Seas Creon introduces the metaphor in Episode one and he says after much tossing of our ship of state the gods have safely set things right again Creon sees himself as the caretaker and captain of that ship and though is reference to the gods hints that he understands they are the ultimate overseers his respect for their authority lessons from this point onward the chorus also makes many references to men sailing stormy seas in order to gain more knowledge and power but they cautioned that this knowledge is not always used for good Creon son Heymann also attempts to use the metaphor of the ship as state to caution Creon that sailors who keep their sails stretched tight never easing off make their ship capsized sadly Hemans warning comes true and Creon pays for his arrogant decisions because the gods are displeased with crayons actions regarding the burial of Polynices and the punishment of Antigone they refused to accept sacrifices or prayers from the city of Thebes these unconsumed sacrifices come to represent the rottenness of the city that is led by a man who puts himself above the gods Antigone risks the displeasure of Creon and her personal safety to honor the law of the Gods by burying her brother when she sees his bare body she casts handfuls of dirt onto him in this way the dirt shows her devotion to her family and a religion above her devotion to the state that is forbidden has burial blindness comes up in both physical and abstract ways throughout the play Tiresias is a blind prophet though he cant see the future with his own eyes he can foretell it by paying attention to other signs Tiresias gives Creon advice that Creon seems blind to until its too late even though Creon cant see with his own eyes that his decisions are costing him the trust of his citizens and the love of his family Creon symbolic blindness causes him to seal his tortured and miserable fate because he will not open his eyes and time to effect in almost every case the incest of Oedipus and Jocasta leads to the destruction of the family tree through suicide or choice Antigone hangs herself Eurydice and humans stab themselves and Polynices and Atia Cleese die fighting each other you

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