Antigone vs. Chronicles of a Death Foretold

Antigone vs. Chronicles of a Death Foretold

It is evident in both Chronicles of a Death Foretold and Antigone; family honour plays a drastic role in decision making, morals, and ultimately outlines the culture of society. Although the decision making and morals aren’t the same in both works, it still demonstrates the culture of the society. In Antigone, Sophocles displays a contrast in the views of family honour to display the culture of Thebes. The reactions by the chorus to the actions of Antigone giving her brother a proper burial demonstrates how important family honour is in the society.

Creon provides the contrast because he is punishing Antigone for her actions based on family honour. Creon ultimately desecrates family honour. When a son or father dies in battle, they are carried home to be properly buried by their families. Antigone’s other dead brother, was a patriot and fought for Thebes, and he was given a proper burial. However, Polynices is not given a proper burial because he rebels against Thebes. Creon is forgotten because he decides to execute Antigone.

The punishment is to be locked in a blocked cave until she dies. Although later on in the story, Creon does decide to free her, it is too late. The people of Thebes are astounded at the fact that Creon would even conceive such a horrible punishment. Antigone acted on family honour, which is completely understood “On every side I hear voices of pity for this poor girl doomed to the cruellest death…for an honourable action-burying a brother who was killed in battle…has she not rather earned a crown of gold” (Sophocles 145).

This quotation displays how the chorus respects Antigone and her actions to give her brother a proper burial. “It was by this service to your dear body, Polynices; I earned the punishment which now I suffer, though all good people know it was for your honour” (Sophocles 150) Antigone dared to defy the King’s threat of death to bury her brother, and shows true family pride. The people take pity on Antigone, and feel that she should be let alone. Haemon, Creon’s son and Antigone’s betrothed, states how the people of Thebes feel. On every side I hear voices of pity for this poor girl doomed to the cruellest death…for an honourable action-burying a brother who was killed in battle…has she not rather earned a crown of gold” (Sophocles 145). This quote proves that the town supports Antigone, and is inspired by her bravery. One may conclude that although many claim to support the crown, they secretly side with a brave and honourable girl. Finally, Antigone chooses to sacrifice herself to give her brother respect. By giving him a burial, she is setting his soul at rest so it may continue into the realm of Death peacefully.

Yet, she is digging her grave with her own teeth. By burying Polynices, Antigone practically hands her life over to Creon, to use as he wishes, because the punishment for defying his orders is death. However, Antigone does not complain. She is proud to die for something she believes in. “It was by this service to your dear body, Polynices; I earned the punishment which now I suffer, though all good people know it was for your honour” (Sophocles 150). Therefore, Antigone’s memory will live on, not only in people’s minds, but also in their hearts.