Scott Gerike Professor Bulliung Paideia I September 21, 2009 The Fight That Ended in Death When Sophocles wrote

Antigone, he included many conflicts that helped set up the plot of the story. The main conflict is between Creon and Antigone, but there are also many smaller conflicts that point the story in the right direction. Although the conflict between Antigone and Creon is important to the story, the conflict between Haemon and Creon is the conflict that helped set up the climax of the play. One of the reasons why the argument between Creon and Haemon is more important to the story than the fight between Creon and Antigone is because of all of the different topics that were touched on during this discussion. The main thing that is touched on in the disagreement between Creon and Antigone is the dispute between whether the body should be buried or not. The only other major dispute that they had was about the roles of the different genders in society. During Creon and Haemon’s discussion they discuss more important topics in less time than it took than Antigone and Creon’s quarrel. anything he says as law because a child is put on this earth just

Gerike 2 keep living out the parent’s same life after they have died. Creon makes this clear when he declared that Haemon should “Accept your father’s word as law in all things” (624). Disregarding this declaration as Haemon did is seen as the height of disrespect for Creon, who believes that if you do not agree with everything you are told, you are disrespecting your elders. The biggest transgression committed by Haemon is the fact that he did not believe that Antigone is guilty and deserves to die. Along with Haemon’s lack of obedience, Creon is repulsed by the fact that he is not only being opposed, but that his son is siding with a woman over his own father. He viewed this as a horrible offense, exclaiming “How contemptible, to give way to a woman” (729)! It is traumatizing for Creon to be reprimanded by a women as he is earlier by Antigone, but having her arguments sustained by his son was even worse. This defense of Antigone by Haemon and Creon’s reaction to it is one of the big reasons that Haemon kills himself at the end of the play. Creon really started turning on Haemon when he starts accusing Creon of being a blind ruler. When Haemon asks, “Would you stop everyone from speaking but yourself,” Creon shows his true colors by responding, “Indeed! I tell you, by the gods above us, you shall pay for using such language to your father” (739-742). This argument with Haemon is when Creon starts to turn into a ruler that is paranoid who

Gerike 3 will be defied and lose his power. Since this play has been written, this trend has continued to occur toward the end of a totalitarian rule, where the ruler becomes paranoid he is going to be overthrown. Due to this paranoia, the ruler begins to trust no one; therefore leaving him on an island that inevitably sinks as he loses his power. During this argument, Haemon questions Creon’s ruling principles because of the inconsistencies in how he said he was going to rule and how he was ruling. When Creon first discussed how he was going to rule, he was very positive about how he was going to maintain control: But you can never know what a man is made of, his character or powers of intellect, until you have seen him tried in rule and office. A man who holds the reins of government and odes not follow the wisest policies but lets something scare him from saying what he thinks, I hold despicable, and always have done. Nor have I time for anyone who puts his popularity before his country. As Zeus the omnipotent will be my witness, if I saw our welfare threatened; if I saw one danger-signal, I would speak my mind, and never count an enemy of my country to be a friend of mine. (169-182) Throughout time though, Creon’s ideals have crumbled, leading this argument to happening. The main point in this statement of ideals is the fact that he said he would never put his popularity before his ideals. Although it is not popularity but respect that he is searching for by sentencing Antigone to death, he is still putting himself before his country’s well being. Another reason why the argument between Antigone and Creon

Gerike 4 is less important to the story than the one between Creon and Haemon is because a big part of why Haemon kills himself at the end of the play is because of the previous disagreement with his father. This is evidenced by the fact that before he killed himself, Haemon spat in his father’s face and then “drew his cross-hilted sword and thrust it at him” (1167). Between the death of his betrothed and the hatred for his father after their earlier fight, Haemon decides it is not worth living anymore and killed himself. Not only does this fight directly cause Haemon’s death, it also has the indirect effect of Creon’s wife, Eurydice, committing suicide. Eurydice’s death is also related to the infamous fight because the fight caused Haemon to commit suicide, therefore causing Eurydice to kill herself as well due to here son’s death. The messenger brings the news of Eurydice’s death to Creon, and when he does, he says had “called down a curse on you for murdering her sons” with her dying breath (1232-33). The conflict also marks the start of the downfall for Creon, which ends with him abdicating after Eurydice commits suicide. The amount of deaths that result from this conflict as well as the number of topics that are covered in the conflict cements the fact that it was the most important conflict in Antigone. Creon sums up what is caused by this argument at the end of the book by saying, “Come, take this hot-headed fool away, a fool who killed you, my son, in blindness” (1262-63) Sophocles really used all the conflicts very well to set up plot

Gerike 5 of the play, but he used the conflict between Creon and Haemon especially well.

Works Cited

Sophocles, , and Peter D. Arnott. Oedipus the King and Antigone. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, Inc, 1960.

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