By Georgina H.

Brandt August 28, 2002

Essay on Antigone, daughter of Oedipus Written by Sophocles- Greek play right
In the Greek play Antigone, we are faced with a conflict between religious or !oral la "s. state or hu!an la , represented by the equally proud and stubborn Antigone (the rebel) and reon (king or state ruler)! Antigone considers god"s decrees and her own fa#ily duties towards her two brothers #ore i#portant than any of #an"s laws or decrees, e$en if such rules co#e fro# not only the #ost powerful ruler of %hebes in her ti#e& but her also fro# a #an who is her own uncle! #n Episode $, Antigone and Is#ene (her sister) ha$e an argu#ent about what they should do with the bodies of their two brothers' one ((teocles) who is considered a hero and should be buried with all honors as declared by reon"s law for fighting on the side of %hebes, and the other whose body ()olyneices) should be left to rot and be eaten by birds as the city"s traitor! Antigone knows the punish#ent for burial of the latter is stoning to death by the populace& ne$ertheless, she refuses to shrink fro# her religious and fa#ily duties, and proceeds to perfor# the proper dead rites upon his body (later in the play when the guard finds her and apprehends her) and gi$es hi# proper burial& Is#ene, on the other hand, prefers to follow the rule of law without any de$iations! *f course, Antigone would ha$e been happier if she could ha$e gi$en the# proper burial, without ha$ing to fear death by stoning fro# her own uncle and thereby broken fa#ily ties e$en farther (beyond the conflict of her two brothers and with her own sister), without ha$ing to defy the law by setting herself as a rebel against the good of the state, by co##itting suicide in the end in the ca$e in which reon had i#prisoned her (buried ali$e while the dead are left unburied, such irony), thereby leading to the suicide of her belo$ed +ae#on ( reon"s only son)! #n lines %%&-$''(, reon goes to seek the counsel of a blind priest (%eiresias) who tells hi# lea$ing the bodies to rot hastens the city"s doo# thru a plague ordered by the gods due to his folly and #isdirected pride, and also his lack of ,udg#ent! As the hatred of his people thickens, as warned by his son, and the suicide of his own son later, he decides to yield to reason, and curbs his pride, replaces his well-#eant principles towards the benefit of his city with fear and dread for the gods& but the change co#es too late, and faced with so #uch death he asks the gods to kill hi# by a crushing weight! .oth Antigone and reon are torn by pride, or hubris, this trait despised by the gods brings suffering,

as was pointed out earlier! . than be called weaker than a wo#an!4 It is in his #ind. she was doing the right thing! %he lines %%&-$''(.oth are plagued by lack of . a lesser threat to lose in battle than to see the whole structure of society as it was known and ad#ired then.udg#ent. which leads the# to their doo#! )he conflict of !an against o!an. is less stubborn and has a re$ersal of #ind and action at the end. or double standard. on the other hand. 3by a #an"s hand. and i##ense courage to do this against e1tre#ely huge obstacles! 2 .Antigone continues on her stubbornness till the end and denies herself happiness with +ae#on because of it! reon. they also re$eal that she considers !oral la #ore i#portant than state la . reinforces #y opinion of Antigone"s wisdo# in her course of action to bury both her brothers.etter to fall fro# power. she also possesses tre#endous pride to insist on her principles. is a so#ewhat lesser the#e but also central to the understanding of this play! Antigone"s rebellion upsets gender roles and hierarchy& the ideal role of wo#an in Greek culture is represented by the passi$eness of Is#ene"s actions! 0uring reon"s argu#ent with his son. toppled by the rebelliousness and stubbornness of a wo#an"s actions. e$en though. he e1presses his chosen course of action of i#prisoning Antigone in the face of earning the wrong reputation as a tyrant with the following words' 2.

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