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The Deaths Of Antigone And Creon

1091 words - 5 pages

Antigone and Creon are the main characters of the play Antigone written by Sophocles. Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus, who was a major figure of ancient Greek myth. Oedipus accidentally killed his father and married his mother. Because of that act, Oedipus ended up cursing his family and died a horrible death. After his death, his sons inherited his kingdom and in a power struggle ended up killing each other. One of the sons, Polynices attacked the city to try and claim power from his brother. But since both of the brothers died and the city was not taken Polynices was labeled as a traitor whereas the other brother who died defending the city was celebrated as a hero. Creon ...view middle of the document...

It is because of this responsibility that Antigone needed to bury her brother Polynices even though it went against the decree of Creon. Antigone also had the gods on her side. It was an unwritten rule of ancient Greek society that the dead must be buried, otherwise bad things may happen. This rule, because it was unwritten and therefore innate, was protected by the gods, specifically Hades, the god of the underworld and family. In crossing Creon to appeal to Hades and her family Antigone breaks the rule of another god, Zeus. Zeus is the grand arbiter and god of order of gods and extends his power symbolically in the position of king. Kings in ancient-Greek society had the authority of Zeus to make decisions in the mortal world. Ancient Greeks placed a great deal of emphasis on order and Creon was the head of order in the mortal world. Because Antigone usurped this order and defied the decree of Creon she was to be destroyed by the gods. But Antigone is clever and uses this destruction to further her own ends. Throughout the play Antigone embraces the concept of death, often pining for it. She uses the power over her own life to challenge Creon. Because she does not fear death Antigone becomes all that Creon hated; a symbol of usurped power and order. Antigone negates Creon’s power because she takes her life in to her own hand, taking it away from the state and from Creon. So Antigone destroys herself, because she must in order to destroy Creon.

Creon is a powerful character as well. He is posses the ultimate power of the mortal world because he rules the state. The authority of Zeus to make judgments was instilled by the position of king. Yet through all his political power, Creon does not have any authority in the world. Throughout the play he makes decrees and decision and not one of them ends successfully or in his favor. Creon uses his political power so excessively that is cancels itself out. He decrees that Polynices not be buried, and the people of...

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