Antigone Essay

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade March 2001

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The tragic short story of Antigone written by Sophocles shows the downfall of a king and his family. King Creon decrees that Polyneices the traitor is not to be buried, but his sister Antigone defies the order. She is caught, and sentenced by Creon to be buried alive, even though she is betrothed to his son Haemon. Antigone hangs herself and when Creon arrives at the tomb, Haemon attacks him and then kills himself. When the news of their death is reported, Creon's wife Eurydice takes her own life. In the Antigone, there are two stubborn heroes for the price of one, Antigone and Creon.

Antigone shows her stubbornness by making her decision to bury her brother Polyneices against Creon's and Ismene's opposition. "Be what you want to; but that man shall I bury"(Line 71). Antigone shows that she is already set on one thing, to bury her brother.

She wont listen to anybody, not even her sister. After she had successfully buried Polyneices, Creon discovered that he had been buried and to this discovery, he sentenced Antigone to a slow death of starvation. "Take her away at once, and open up the tomb I spoke of. Leave her there alone."(Line 886) Little did Creon know that this would cost him his most valuable treasure, his family.

Creon makes a point of not bending. He compares himself to a captain who should stick to his course even if it's wrong and Haemon's advice about the good ruler bending like branches caught in a flood goes right over his head. But in another unexpected twist, he does learn! He actually does listen to the Chorus, and take their advice, although he failed to undo his deeds in the right order still lead to tragedy. Antigone had already hung herself in the tomb she was put in. "In the far corner of the tomb we saw her, hanging by the neck, caught in a noose of her own linen veiling." (Line 1220) As Antigone was hanging by the neck, Haemon then killed himself in love for Antigone. " Then the unhappy-boy, in anger at himself, leant on the blade. It entered half its lengths, into his side" (Line 1233).

Eurydice heard the news that her son has slaughtered himself, and she then decides to kill herself. Creon then finds out that Eurydice is dead he mourns for the death of Eurydice, Haemon, and Antigone. "Just now, I held my son in my arms. And now I see her dead."(Line 1298) Creon was at fault for his stubbornness had lead to all this. He did not listen to Tiresias at first but then comes to the decision that he is right, a little too late.

Creon and Antigone have the trait of stubbornness that they share alike. This trait leads them both to this helpless tragedy. Antigone, the tragedy of her death, and Creon has to live with the fact that his bad choice for being stubborn caused his family's death. This brings up a good lesson to learn. "That is the future's. We must look to now. What will be is in other hands than ours." (Line 1331) In everyday life, the outcome of your day can be altered by the simplest or most complicating choices, but whatever happens in the future, we cannot control.