Sophocles: Antigone the Famous Play in Ancient Greek
In the famous play Antigone, by the ancient Greek writer Sophocles, many values of the culture in Thebes is portrayed through Antigone’s actions and experiences. In Antigone’s quest to bury her brother, she is alienated from society due to her uncle Creon – who also happens to be the king of Thebes. Creon, who is unwilling to let a woman get the better of him, refuses to let his responsibility to his family overpower his responsibility to the state.
Although Creon is reluctant to believe that what Antigone did was just, he is sympathetic because he believes that the Gods would have not wanted a traitor –such as her brother-to be buried. Antigone buries her fallen brother with the hope that is will please the Gods. She believes that her obligation to the Gods is far superior to that of her obligation to the city. Thus, her actions defy the law set by her uncle and intern she is sentenced to death. In the play, the citizen’s moral views are shown by their talk of the Gods and the sense of culture in telling such stories.
Although the citizens are unable to do anything about Antigone’s fate, they believe that Antigone’s actions were just because they were to please the Gods, so her fate does not fit the crime. Haemon – Antigone’s husband and son of Creon – tries to persuade his father that the city agrees that Antigone had done the right thing. But unable to swallow his pride, Creon justifies his verdict because his belief was that by burying his nephew it would be going against the city of Thebes, and that the Gods would never approve of this.
In hearing the blind prophet Tiresias’ foretelling, Creon sends him away in a burst of rage due to his denial. Creon is sympathetic to Antigone because his wish was to please the Gods, but only upon his opinion that his nephew is a traitor does he believe that his decision is just. It is not until the moment when the prophet’s fortune is proved that Creon realizes that he has made a mistake. The God’s had been on Antigone’s side the entire time and this was the primary motivation for her burying her brother.
She also had some suicidal tendencies. Many people in Antigone express their opinions and moral views through their culture. The citizens as well as Haemon all believe that Antigone’s alienation and ultimate death did not fit the crime she had committed. Creon on the other hand shows his opinion and moral views through the fact that he must choose between responsibility of family and responsibility of state. Antigone’s actions and beliefs are the primary catalyst for the entire story as well as the portrayal of the other characters moral views.