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Antigone Review

When plunging into the creative world of drama, a person cannot help but imagine the depths to which she will travel in this parallel universe, imagining all possibilities and pleasures that can never be attained in the real world. A person opens a work of literature hoping to be emotionally moved and, somehow, changed for the better. However, this ideal literary effect is not achieved through Sophocles play, Antigone. The play features a young princess, Antigone, who is determined to defy King Creon s decree and bury her deceased brother, Polyneices, a traitor to Thebes, the land in which the play takes place. After Antigone performs a proper burial for her brother and Creon is informed of her betrayal, he hastily sentences her to death after a brutal argument in which they dispute the acceptability of fulfilling the laws of the gods (one of which is to provide everyone with a proper burial regardless of any mistakes he may have made throughout his life) over Creon s edict. Once he determines her fate, Creon is approached by several people who chastise him for his decision. At the culmination of the play, Creon s son, Haimon, who was engaged to Antione, and his wife, devastated by the death of her son, commit suicide, but when Creon finally comes to realize his mistakes, it is too late; his family is dead. Though it is short in length, the play manages to drag on monotonously, losing the reader s attention within the first few pages. Its clichéd message of not allowing one s hubris to cloud his better judgment is poorly portrayed through unrealistic characters and, in the end, fails to shed any new light on what hubris is about. In a time and society where women were granted little to no rights, one is supposed to believe that Antigone had the audacity to speak in

such a shrewd and insolent manner to the king, a man who could easily request her as a dinner appetizer and have his wish. While one must respect her confidence and loyalty, it would be unrealistic not to rebuke her stupidity in performing a proper burial for her already dead brother, fully aware that digging his grave meant digging hers as well. Throughout the tragedy, the play grazes the reader s interest but fails to grasp it completely, like a swimmer on a calm summer day, waiting to be pulled in by a forceful wave, but disappointed by the lack of motion, the spark that they so hoped would be there. When the wave finally kicks in, it washes them out, leaving them cold, confused, and bitter. This unpleasant affect is similar to the pungent taste left in the mouth of Antigone s audience when the play comes to a close, or lack thereof. While it does end, the play does not provide the reader with a feeling of closure; but rather leaves him with an unsettling feeling in the pit of their stomach, confused about what just took place. After witnessing Creon s epiphany, the future of Thebes still hangs in the balance and the reader cannot help but feel abandoned at the peak of his experience. Although this unclear ending could be interpreted as intentional literary ambiguity, it leaves all of the characters dead, except for Creon, whose life is essentially over. Therefore, the reader is not left with anything to take away from the experience, but is rather stopped short and deprived of a proper conclusion, much like Polyneices after Creon s decree.