Antigone, Julius Caesar, and The Matrix
Teylor Parks Ms. Philip World Literature and Composition-Period 2 19 December 2013 Culminating Performance Task: Part B Since its emergence, literature has been defined by elaborate plotlines, skillful settings, and a notable theme. However, the most important aspect of a great story is the lead character. Protagonist Antigone and Brutus both exhibit unique characteristics that influence their motivations. In Sophocles’ greek tragedy Antigone, the title character is forced to make a decision between her brother’s burial and her uncle’s decree.
However, her strong will and stubborn personality causes her to disregard her uncle’s proclamation, and take her own stance. In lines 85-87 of Scene 2, the Choragus remarked, “Like father, like daughter: both headstrong, deaf to reason! She has never learned to yield. ” This direct characterization by the Choragus shows that Antigone is very obdurate. As for William Shakespeare’s drama The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Brutus must make a choice between joining the conspirators or allowing Caesar to continue his rise in power. Brutus’ gullibility and dedication to Rome caused him to fall victim of deception.
Influenced by Cassius’ remarks, Brutus reflects in Act 2, “It must be by his death; and for my part. I know no personal cause to spurn at him. But for the general,” This shows that though Brutus has no rationale to kill Caesar; he is willing to commit murder for the good of his kingdom. Furthermore, Brutus joins the conspiracy after reading false letters from the public; this proves that Brutus is very naive. Both Antigone and Brutus’ decisions are influenced by not only their character traits and motivations, but the frequent appearance of fate and freewill.
In Andy and Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix, main character Neo is at a constant battle with fate and freewill. Given the choice between the truth and his perceived reality, Neo takes control of his own destiny and selects the truth in the form of a red pill. However, he is exposed to a world of oppression and deception, with his every move determined by an oracle. Similarly, this ongoing struggle of fate versus free will is evident throughout Antigone and Julius Caesar. Though Antigone was in charge of her own future, fate indirectly affected her. For instance, when Creon attempts to save her life, she is lready dead once he arrives. This is an example of fate, since Creon was warned of this event. Brutus was also an individual of free will. However, his actions seemed to be predetermined by a higher force, as the soothsayer was aware of Caesar’s dangers before Brutus even joined the conspirators. All in all, though each character is affected by both factors, only one defines them. In Antigone, Antigone choses her own destiny. She proclaims, “Yea, for thou chosed’st life, and I to die. ” Antigone was aware of her consequences, and caused her own doom.
As for Brutus of Julius Caesar, he also fell victim to free will. However, as Antigone was conscious of the results, Brutus was not. Brutus made the unethical decision to murder Caesar. The people of Rome turned against him and caused him to flee the city. As his odds began to unfold before him, Brutus realized that his actions were moraless and death was upon him. Brutus’ last act of freewill, occurred when he ended his own life. Contrary to Antigone and Brutus, Neo of The Matrix was a character of fate. Neo’s every move was in favor of the Oracle; his actions were predetermined and precise.
However, he never suffered a reversal of fortune or an ultimate demise as Brutus and Antigone did. At the end of each plotline, the characters meet an outcome. In The Matrix, Neo gains confidence and newfound strength. He believes that he is truly ? the one? , and decides to use his powers to end the machine domination. On the other hand, Antigone and Brutus both suffered negative outcomes. One may argue that since both character suffered a demise, their end results were equally unfavorable. However, upon Antigone’s death she had not only upheld her morals, but fulfilled her goal.
On the other hand, Brutus ended his life with nothing but regret, remorse, and grief. As a result, Brutus suffered the least appealing outcome. Many similarities can be found throughout Antigone, Brutus, and Neo’s decisions. For example, each character’s actions were heavily influenced by another character’s words. Antigone was motivated to bury her brother after her Ismene displayed weakness towards Creon’s decree. Antigone conveys in the prologue, ? For your words are hateful, leave me my foolish plan: I am not afraid of the danger. Ismene’s timid composition and disloyalty to the family, angered Antigone and further motivated her to bury her brother. Brutus was heavily influenced by Cassius to overtake Caesar. Cassius begins, ? I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus. ” (1. 2. 90) Cassius then goes on to mention, ? I was born as free a Caesar; so were you. ” (1. 2. 97) Cassius attempted to flatter Brutus, and persuade him to believe that he was as good of a man as Caesar. This along with other forms of trickery caused Brutus to join the conspiracy. Lastly, Neo was influenced by Morpheous to choose the red pill. Something’s wrong with the world. You don’t know what, but it’s there. lt is this feeling that has brought you to me,” Morpheus says. He continues, ? You have to see it [the matrix] for yourself. This is your last chance.? Morpheus’ words caused Neo to consider the truth. He was aware of the feelings that Morpheus mentioned and curious about the matrix. As a result, Neo chose the red pill. In conclusion, all of the character’s decisions were influenced by outside factors, causing the characters to make decisions based on others’ opinions or motivations. Word Count: 945