William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Sophocles’ Antigone both develop a complex plot structure and show many similarities and differences. They share some common tragic illumination along with some uncommon tragic illumination, as well. Each of the plays ended in some sorts of fatalities, but with different cases of dispute. Tragic illumination is a piece of literature describing the conflict between a protagonist and a superior force that has a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion. When analyzing the classic Romeo & Juliet and Antigone the most predominant aspect of the two is that they are both tragedies that end in fatalities due to the lack of acceptance of their parental figures. Both works serve as a message of caution to parental figures to accept or lose their children.
In the tragedy of Antigone, Antigone is the protagonist who has a conflict with a superior force, who happens to be her Uncle Creon. Shea wanted proper burial of her brother, which Creon was attempting to prohibit. She went against his wishes to her sister, Ismene’s, dismay and buried him anyway. This angered Creon so he threatened her and basically put her on death row. Antigone’s fiancé, Haemon, who is also Creon’s son, stands up for her. This can be compared to Romeo and Juliet. The protagonists were Romeo and Juliet and the superior forces were their parents. Their parents (The Montagues and The Capulets respectively) were doing anything they could to keep them apart, but Romeo, like Harmon, stood up for his lover and discarded any disapproval from family in order to protect and be with the woman he loved. Theban Princess Antigone concludes that divine will and family ties take priority over all else. Likewise, Juliet decides that love and Romeo mean more to her than everyone and everything else. The two heroines seek life on their terms or not at all.
Both couples were star-crossed lovers, whom unfortunately had disputing families. The quarrels between the two families, in both plays, made it very challenging for the couples to associate with one another. Oedipus and Creon’s agony towards one another was very similar to that of the Montagues and the Capulets. The households of these families were very cursed. Both families were always feuding and forbade their children to have any involvement with one another. Both Haemon and Romeo turn against their fathers to follow their heart and desires for Antigone and Juliet.
Despite these familial differences, both couples went through many obstacles to be with their beloved and turned against their family values. Though Antigone rejected Haemon in the beginning, he begged for his beloved’s life. And although Juliet was not Romeo’s first love, Romeo would stop at nothing to prove the seriousness of his feelings. Both Haemon and Romeo had one true interest: love. Their idealism and their passion make them very unique characters. Romeo and Juliet secretly get married, taking great criticism and abuse from both sides. Haemon and Antigone never get the chance for marriage as tragedy occurs.
According to the beliefs of the Greeks, a sprinkling of dust over a corpse signifies burial (Garland). Antigone wanted a decent burial for her brother, Polyneices. Creon, Haemon’s father, did not see Polyneices’s death in the same manner and ruled that a burial not is performed. Having done so, Antigone was sentenced to the dungeon where she was to die of starvation. With warnings of divine omens, Creon opens the cave to find Antigone hanging from a linen band. Haemon, who could not stand the thought of living his life without his beloved, cursed his father, lunged at him with his sword and then took his own life thrusting the sword in his side with his father insight. The Capulets wanted Juliet to marry Paris, a Kingsman of the Prince. Knowing he was to be her suitor, Juliet faked her own death by drinking a potion, which was to make her appear lifeless. The potion worked, but not to her favor. Word got out and Romeo killed himself because he thought his beloved was dead. Feeling guilty for her love’s death, Juliet took her life using Romeo’s dagger. Both Antigone and Romeo and Juliet are tragic love stories that never lead to an earthly union. Both families allow hatred to take control of their lives. This hatred eventually led to death. Both Haemon and Romeo would rather die than live without their soulmates. Both Antigone and Juliet were committed to their family values and to their beloved. This sincere commitment put them both in a situation beyond their control, leaving them feeling helpless and alone.