Antigone-Character Motives

Antigone-Character Motives

Many people throughout history have perished or suffered for their beliefs or their religion. The story of, Antigone, includes many examples of martyrs and the ways they suffer for their beliefs. Although they do not have the same actions, Creon and Antigone share the same motive of restoring respect to their despised, incestual family through different ways. Some examples are such as how Antigone tries through gaining honor as the last great leader of her kin and how Creon attempts by using power as the ruler of Thebes.

Through these two characters, Sophocles, one of the three ancient Greek tragedians, tries to convey the idea to the reader that no matter the circumstances, remain loyal to the gods. Antigone, acting as the protagonist in this Greek tragedy, undergoes the constant torment of fate throughout the story while trying to restore her family’s reputation without dishonoring the gods. Her brother Polynices is described by Creon as a traitor to the empire for attacking the city of Thebes and perishing in battle and no one in the city may bury him.

Antigone’s sister, Ismene, warns her about the consequences of burying Polynices by stating, “What? You’d bury him when the law forbids the city? ”, and Antigone replies with a prominent, “Yes! ” (61). Ismene refuses to help Antigone with her brother’s burial and Antigone tells her,”Do as you like, dishonor the laws the gods hold in honor”(62). Antigone tries to use the act of giving her brother a rightful burial as a heroic way to restore honor to her family, without dishonoring the gods.

Knowing that she will suffer for her actions, Antigone values divine authority over human authority to make herself known as a martyr by dying for her belief. Through making herself known as the last great hero of her family by suffering, and then dying for her beliefs, she restores honor to her family while also showing the beneficial consequences of siding with the gods. Similarly, Creon tries to restore honor to his family, but through a different method as he chooses to side with the laws of the state, rather than the laws of the gods.

After discussing the planned death of Antigone with his leader of the citizens of Thebes, Creon and Haemon have an argument about Creon’s action of following the laws of the state, rather than the laws of the gods. As they dispute back and forth, Haemon announces that he sees his father, “offending justice”, and even as Creon responds by saying it’s to, “protect his royal rights”, Haemon once again replies, “Protect your rights? When you trample down the honor of the gods? ” (98).

Creon’s view on what he is doing is that as the ruler of Thebes, he must follow its laws above all others to show his loyalty to the government. He also commits to his actions because he feels that as the leader of his family, he must assert authority and set an example of a well ruling father and mayor. Creon accepts his doom filled fate by dishonoring the gods as he puts human laws over divine laws. As a result of his choices, Creon then undergoes many tragic events like this suicides of his wife and son as a result of his actions.

Also, relating to the evidence given about Antigone’s actions, Sophocles again shows the reader the negative consequences of not staying faithful to the Gods. A person’s choices greatly affect their fate and many poor choices can lead to the destruction of himself like with the results of Creon’s choices. However, if a person makes honorable choices in their life, such as Antigone, then they will be gratified later on. The one thing that controls all of these events are the gods, and all people must remember that they should never dishonor them, no matter the circumstances.