Antigone- Theme of Family Loyalty
1484 WordsMar 15th, 20076 Pages
Betrayal of Family Loyalty In the play Antigone, written by Greek playwright Sophocles, loyalty to family seems to be a recurring theme. We first see it when Antigone defies King Creon's order to keep her brother, Polynices, unburied as a punishment for his betrayal of their country Thebes. We also see how Antigone's sister, Ismene, accepts partial blame for the burial (even though she refused to actually do it) in an affectionate, loyal act. Creon is also family (their father's brother), but he, however, betrays this family trust and loyalty when he sentences Antigone to death for disobeying his law. There are, however, repercussions for this death sentence, that prove that there are two central tragic heroes in this play. She is…show more content…
That is backed up by Antigone saying, "Never, I tell you, if I had been the mother of children or if my husband died, exposed and rottingI'd never have taken this ordeal upon myself, never defied our people's will. What law, you ask, do I satisfy with what I say? A husband dead, there might have been another. A child by another too, if I had lost the first. But mother and father both lost in the halls of Death, no brother could ever spring to light again"(Fagles1471). This statement proves the real reason Antigone chose to go through with this act, and that is that she could never have another brother. This adds a more human-like quality to Antigone, who before seemed almost godly, because she was unafraid of everything. We can now sympathize more with her. Her fear of death is even more apparent when she says, "I go to them now, [her dead family] cursed, unwed, to share their homeI am a stranger! O dear brother, doomed in your marriageyour marriage murders mine, your dying drags me down to death alive!"(Fagles1469-70). We can see that she is scared, now that death is approaching her more closely, and that remark almost seems as if she is resentful that she had to carry out this duty. Earlier, when her sister Ismene, admitted to helping with the burial, Antigone became furious, saying, "Never share my dying, don't lay
Show MoreThe notion of honor and justice is prevalent throughout all types of literature. In Greek culture, honor is essential for creating a solid foundation within a society and family. Honor will follow you until the day you perish, and beyond. The honor for men in Greece is spiritual in that loved ones show respect to the deceased by giving them a proper burial. Nevertheless, when a man acts upon betrayal of the city, that man looses the privilege to die in such honor. This is evident in the life of Antigone when her two brothers, Polyneices and Eteocles, both die at each other’s hands at war when deciding the ruler of Thebes. Polyneices cannot have a proper burial, because the new king, Antigone’s uncle, Creon created a law that decrees that…show more content…
However, the love that Antigone has for her brother, and her loyalty to the gods, drive her to continue her efforts to give him a burial because “at least [Polyneices] is [her] brother/…/ [She] will not prove false to him” even if she will be sacrificing her own life (51-52). For that reason, Antigone goes on this journey to give Polyneices a proper burial, and after several attempts, she finally succeeds.
Creon is furious at the blatant disregard for his law, and the disrespect shown towards his position as King, because “there is nothing worse than disobedience to authority” (726-727). Creon believes that since the gods ordained him to be king that his words should be equal to the gods, because the gods would never let someone rule in a way that they did not approve of. Creon, full of rage by this incredible insult, confronts Antigone about her disobedience: “And did you dare to disobey that law?” (493). Antigone, still very much happy and content with her decision to bury Polyneices and follow the law of the gods, answers very passionately and assertively:
“Yes, it was not Zeus that made the proclamation; / nor did Justice, which lives with those below, enact / such laws as that, for mankind. I did not believe / Your proclamation had such power to enable / One who will someday die to override / God’s