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Steven Truong November 9th, 2011 Period 5: Hollingsworth

Antigone Questions Part I


1. To defend her position to break Creons law, Antigone claims that Polydieces is her brothergiving her the duty to bury her beloved family member. Furthermore, it is divine law to bury the dead in respect for the dead soul; not burying Polydieces would be a challenge to the authority of the gods. However, Ismene responds that Antigone should not bury Polydieces because it would be challenging Creon (the king) and also that Antigone is a female- as a female is to obey laws created by the king, and man. 2. Deducting from the Prologue, Antigone is portrayed as a more adventurous and valiant being as she is willing to risk her life to bury her brother, while Ismene is seen to be a timid and obedient character since she abides by Creons law and is frightened to stand up against authority. Sophocles seems to side more with Antigone due to her boldness as he titles the tragedy after her. If Sophocles valued Ismene more for being obedient, then perhaps Ismene would be the main character of the play and the tragedy would value Ismenes submission to law more, rather than sympathy for Antigones brave act of justice. 3. From the Parados, the audience learns about the war between Polynieces and Etocles that would lead to the tragic story of Antigone. After, Oedipuss exile, the throne was left to two of Oedipuss sons, Etocles and Polynieces. Both the sons would rule together, exchanging the throne every year. However, Etocles refused to step down from the throne after his year of reign- which caused Polynieces to assemble his army of princes and fight Etocles (Thebes) for his right to the throne. In the end, both the brothers die as Creon becomes king; and only Etocles is buried while Polynieces isnt because Creon sees him as a traitor to Thebes after he attacked the city. Antigone, being Polyniecess sister, disapproves of Creons bias and takes action to bury her brother- which would lead to her tragic ending. 4. In the Parados, Choragos compares Polynieces to a wild eagle, which portrays him as a strong character and also symbolizes the support of Zeus since the eagle is the bird of Zeus. The metaphor by Choragos gives depicts Polynieces as powerful and also a man fighting for justiceas the eagle is also a symbol of justice and power (as used by many countries as a symbol). On the other hand, the eagle, being a symbol of Zeus, also gives the audience an idea of how the Zeus or the gods supported Polynieces for acting in justice to rightfully claim his throne after the one year reign of Etocles. 5. The dramatic irony that is observed and felt in Scene I of the play is that Antigones action is right and that Polynieces should be buried as Creon is wrong in his decision to disrespect the dead body of Polynieces and also divine law. Creon is still blinded by his power and authority that allows him to think that everything he does is right. However, as the plot of Antigone develops, Antigones action to bury Polynieces will be sympathized for as Creon ultimately succumbs to justice and decides to repeal his order. 6. From Scene I, Creon can be seen as a leader with both good and bad qualities, judging from his reaction to Antigones action. Creons positive qualities are that he is a leader who rules righteously and abides strictly to law. In Scene I, Creons authority is powerful, similar to Oedipus, as his demands are met. Furthermore, Creons law to not bury Polynieces was a law he created in his reasoning that Polynieces was a traitor to the city. However, Creon didnt understand Polynieces rationale to battle Etocles and shows that he is stubborn and also in

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some ways, ruthless. Creon is stubborn as he doesnt comprehend the fact that Etocles is the true culprit of the war as he disobeyed a law, forcing Polynieces to take action. Also, Creon is ruthless as he forbids anyone to show feeling or sympathize for Polynieces. The Chorus expresses that law is what keeps society in order as law is what creates conflict in Antigone. In Antigone, both divine law and state law are broken as Creon disobeys the law to respect the dead by burying them while Antigone transcends Creons law of not burying Polynieces. From the Choruss expression, law is depicted to be essential to society as breaking the laws, as done by both Creon and Antigone, causes strife and conflict. Antigone may be literally described to be headstrong and deaf to reason as her action seems to be against law. However, with human perspective in her situation, Antigone is seen to be acting in justice and valiantly taking action to obey divine law. On the other hand, Creon can also be depicted to be headstrong and deaf to reason as he doesnt understand and reason with Antigones situation. As the story progresses, Antigone will gain sympathy from the audience and the city of Thebes- proving that the assessment of her character is false. Ismene changes her mind about her brothers burial since she finally understands the situation and sympathizes for Antigones attempt at justice. However, Antigones rejection of Ismenes support may be a bit harsh since Ismene did not fully understand the situation at first due to fear. However, once dragged into the conflict against Creon, she recognizes that burying her brother is justified and sides with Antigone- therefore, she should not be rejected by Antigone for being slow to understand the situation. According to Ode II, the human fault that is responsible to the curse of heaven is arrogance as humans may neglect divine law. During the course of the play, both Creon and Ismene are seen to be guilty of the law as they both go against burying Polynieces- as it is divine law to bury the dead in order to respect their soul.

Antigone Questions Part II


1. At the beginning of Scene III, Creon states that Antigone will probably plead for family ties in order to show how Antigone is a weak character and is unable to stick to her virtues. However, Creon misreads Antigones character as Antigone is a strong and determined character as she is willing to die in order to bury Polydieces. As a result, Creons interpretation of Antigone is false as Antigone is seen to be a strong and praised character. 2. Creon refuses to change his mind because he is afraid that he will appear to be weak in front of Thebes and also sticks to his belief that Polydieces is a traitor to Thebes and should not be buried. However, Creons main reason to stick to his declaration is because he does not want to submit to a woman (Antigone). Furthermore, Creons attitude towards women also influences his decision about Antigone as he views women as weak- thus influencing his will to reject Antigones action to bury her brother since he does not want to be seen as weak by submissing to Antigones will. 3. Instead of sentencing her to death, Creon decides to isolate Antigone in the wilderness in a stone vault and give her a living death. Furthermore, Creon voids the death of Ismene due to her innocence in the situation. However, the method that Creon proposes does not absolve the state of Antigones death because he still sentences Antigone to a sad and pitiful death as she will have to die slowly and pitifully. 4. In Scene III, Creon accuses Haimon of selling out to love for his wife Antigone. The Chorus, being on Creons side, also states that Haimon succumbs to his love for Antigone. However, this is

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false as Haimon sympathizes for Antigones righteous action to bury her brother who had fought in justice. As a result, Haimon is motivated by Antigones justice and not his love for her. I believe that Antigone is not responsible for her own death since she had to have a motive to take her own life. This motive of hers may be attributed to Creons negligence of burying her brother and also sentencing her to a pitiful state of death. Therefore, Antigones death was ultimately caused by Creons actions against her. In Antigones last lines, she asks the gods to remember that she acted in justice for her brother, claiming that she cannot have another brother (as she may have another husband or child) which motivates her to take action and bury him, and also that she followed divine law. From Antigones last lines, her motives can be seen to gain sympathy as she is sent away pitifully after trying to act in justice. Furthermore, another motive of hers may be the fact that she wants Creon to be punished for disobeying divine law and not burying Polynieces. In Scene IV, Antigone gains sympathy after her situation is understood and comprehended. From the beginning of the play, Antigone wanted to bury Polynieces for a good cause and for justice, not to oppose Creons authority as a criminal. However, as the plot develops, Creon gives Antigone a role of a criminal who is savage by going against his law. Despite, Creons perspective on Antigone, Haimon, Teirisias, and Thebes all show sympathy for Antigones actionthus making her more sympathetic as a character. The fate that Antigone shares with the other Greek mythical figures glorifies Antigones fate as they also were trapped by fate even though they had good motives. Antigones fate with the others emphasizes how fate is only destined and cannot be controlled, but does happen for a reason. The destiny of Antigone would create a moral that divine law should be obeyed as there are dire consequences that may occur from disobeying divine law. Creon accuses Teiresias and other prophets as people with greed for power and wealth. Furthermore, he goes on to state that prophecies are fake and a mere tool to gain power. After Creons crude remarks about prophets, Teirisias predicts for Creon that he will lose someone of his own blood as pay to his breaking of divine law and not burying Polynieces. After the drama that occurs from Antigones banishment, the Messenger comesback to tell of how Antigone and Haimon suicide. During Creons burial of Polynieces, the Messenger heard a cry that would belong to Haimon raving over Antigone, leading to him killing himself beside Antigone. Eurydice would overhear the message and curse Creon for disobeying divine law and resort to killing herself due to the grief from her sons death. Finally, Creon is left alone without family and prays for death due to his grief from the events that occurred. It is ironic that Teirisias is blind because he has the ability to see the future and knowledge. Despite being blind, Teirisias can see what happens in the future and has great wisdom, compared to a man who has vision (Creon) but does not have mental wisdom or vision. Creon is not completely responsible for the tragic ending as the tragedy that occurs is actually an offspring of the curse on the House of Oedipus. The curse on the house of Oedipus would lead to the conflict between Polynieces and Etocles, which leads to Creons edict on not burying Polynieces. Furthermore, Creons edict would cause Antigone to take action, thus leading to the tragedy of the play. Therefore, in the big picture, the curse on the house of Oedipus is the main fault for tragedy, whereas Creon is only a small fault for the tragedy. In my opinion, Antigone is seen as an admirable character who tragically dies as an innocent martyr in the end. Antigones action to oppose Creons law was an act of justice for her brother Polynieces and also to obey divine laws. The act committed by Antigone should be praised as she was valiant in supporting her brother. Furthermore, the gods would not have punished her for her pride since her action was obeying the divine law set by the gods.

14. The role of the Chorus and Choragos is to contemplate the plot of the story and usually tries to maintain stability throughout the plot. For example, the Chorus usually gets the last words of a scene to make a comment of the situation. Furthermore, the Chorus sided with Creon in Antigone as Creon was the stronger side in the conflict. However, in the end, the Chorus would finally understand the plot and state how wisdom is needed to maintain stability and is essential to order in society. On the other hand, the Choragos usually provides a deeper analysis of the occurring situation in the play and appeals more to reason. All in all, the Chorus and Choragos maintain the role of contemplating the plot.

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