Antigone Themes — Quotes With Page Numbers
Antigone Themes. Standing up for one’s beliefs, gender discrimination, and foolish pride are three chief themes that represent many Ancient Greek tragedies and comedies. “Antigone” the second in Sophocles’ Theban Trilogy sets an example for all three themes. The play starts with two brothers who fight for the power of the throne, Polyneices and Oedipus. Polyneices doesn’t play it fair and as a result, they both die. King Creon then forbids the city from burying the corpse of Polyneices.
Sister of Polyneices, Antigone, is a woman who has a rather strong and dynamic personality who speaks her mind and shows a different behavior than other women in her time. She feels it is right for her brother to have a proper burial and betrays Creon’s law. Meanwhile, Ismene, sister of Antigone and Polyneices, refuses to disobey Creon and does not help Antigone bury her brother. Indeed, Antigone details the theme of standing up for one’s beliefs. Antigone mentions, “Even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory.
I will lie with the one I love and loved by him [Polynieces]. ”
Sophocles, Antigone Themes, Page 86
Antigone believes that her burying her brother is a glorious thing to do because she loves her brother the same way he loves her. Before this passage, Ismene was telling Antigone about how she would be disobeying the law if she helped her bury the body.
“What greater glory could I win than to give my own brother decent burial. ”
Sophocles, Antigone Themes, Page 561
Again, Antigone is staying strong to her belief that once she buries her brother, she will feel honored with great glory.
Many actions carried out by Antigone shows the theme of standing up for one’s beliefs. Another equally important theme of many ancient Greek tragedies and comedies is gender discrimination. While Antigone stands up for her beliefs by wanting to bury her brother, Ismene warns her,
“Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men, then too, we’re underlings, ruled by much stronger hands. ”
Sophocles, Antigone Themes, Page 74
Back in ancient Greece, everyone was taught that men are more superior to women and Ismene means that if Antigone doesn’t follow man laws, she will be punished.
Meanwhile, Creon mentions,
“I am not the man, not now. She is the man if this victory goes to her and she goes free. ”
Sophocles, Antigone Themes, Page 83
Creon’s point is that if Antigone get away with committing an action that he forbade, Antigone would seem like the man in the situation. Gender discrimination is definitely a major theme in “Antigone”. In the same way, another theme comes in thought; foolish pride. Foolish pride is definitely a theme that occurs often in Antigone. Antigone challenges Creon with her personality and focuses on her pride.
Her pride refuses to lose to Creon’s (pride) as she says,
“I will suffer nothing as great as death without glory. ”
Sophocles, Antigone Themes, Page 64
Another great example of foolish pride is when Creon is blinded by Antigone’s actions and does not realize that he easily plans the death of his own niece (and son).
“Never! Sister’s child or closer in blood than all my family clustered at my alter worshipping guardian Zeus –she’ll never escape.. ”
Sophocles, Antigone Themes, Page 543
To conclude with, foolish pride is an important theme of Ancient Greek tragedies and comedies.