Sophocles' Use Of Social Commentary In Antigone

1523 words - 7 pages

Art has the power to reach people across space and time. Although artists primarily use creative media to disseminate their ideas and emotions to a contemporary audience, great art has the ability to reach whoever appreciates it no matter their origin. In Antigone, Sophocles does this by creating a fictionalized Thebes in which he reflects upon the politics, religion, and societal norms of his own world. He creates a ruler, Creon, whose tyrannical actions serve to promote the merits of democracy and criticize the contemporary government. He also creates a protagonist, Antigone, who challenges the validity of the social structure while upholding ancient traditions. This social commentary allows Sophocles to connect with his both the physical audience present at his productions and all future patrons of his work.
The failures of Creon leadership represent the limitations of autocratic government and thereby serve to promote democracy. At the play’s opening, Creon is portrayed sympathetically. He presents his decree preventing the burial of Polynices as just retribution for his crimes against Thebes and as an effective way to prevent pollution (Sophocles 62). He feels further vindicated because the chorus, consisting of elder representatives of the populace, supports the decree. Even Antigone’s impassioned defence, which invokes the “unwritten and unfailing” (73) laws of the gods, appears to have no impact on the chorus, who states that “she does not know how to bend amidst her troubles” (74). This perception of Creon begins to shift upon Antigone’s death sentence. Although the punishment seems as cruel and excessive, Creon firmly believes it to be a necessary deed. He is “eager to display his full control of a crisis barely averted, and determined to assert his newly gained power, [so] he cannot afford failure in this first challenge to his command” (Segal 12).
It is Haimon who raises the first opposition and challenges the judiciousness of Creon’s decision. Although he simply asks for Creon to, “let go of your anger, allow yourself change” (Sophocles 84), this humble request is met with great hostility by Creon. When Haimon states that the citizenry shares his viewpoint, Creon responds, “Should this city tell me what commands to give?” (85) Creon’s words are evidence of his arrogance and hubris which conflicts with the earlier image of a benevolent and humble ruler. The façade of Creon’s magnanimity continues to crumble as the chorus, who Antigone had alleged was too afraid to speak against Creon (75), defends her by saying that she “…has struck her foot against the throne of justice and fallen...” (92). This is as a fatalistic assessment of the futility of challenging an acknowledged power. The throne is symbolic of the opposition of Creon and abandonment by the Olympian throne, which later corrects these injustices by punishing Creon. Although Creon purports to believe that, “a helmsman of the city as a whole who fails to lay his hand on the...

Find Another Essay On Sophocles' Use of Social Commentary in Antigone

Irony in Sophocles' Antigone Essay

2399 words - 10 pages irony realizes his situation and discovers that when he thought he was most brilliant of impressive, then he was really most absurd. . . .(62).   Let us explore the irony, in Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone, and see if we don’t conclude that, as it applies to King Creon it brings quite the same result as in Jevons’ stated situation.   In Sophocles: The Theban Plays E. F. Watling comments on Sophocles’ usage of dramatic irony in his

Pride in Sophocles' Antigone Essay

977 words - 4 pages Pride in Sophocles' Antigone Pride is a quality that all people possess in one way or another. Some people take pride in their appearance, worldly possessions, or position in society. The story of Antigone written by Sophocles has two characters who have a tragic flaw of pride. I will show how Creon’s pride of power leads to his destruction, and how Antigone’s pride makes her an honorable character who should be treated as a hero. Creon

The Importance of Religious Obligations Illustrated in Sophocles' Antigone

584 words - 2 pages In the play Antigone by Sophocles, one of the main characters, Antigone, has to choose to obey the law or obey her religious obligations. Creon, the king of Thebes, issued and edict that said that Antigone’s brother, Polyneikes, could not be buried. Antigone felt that she should not leave her brother to be devoured by vultures and insisted on burying him. Because Polyneikes had rebelled against the state, one of the greatest offenses of the time

The Corrupt Nature of Mankind in Sophocles´ Antigone

1452 words - 6 pages The Corrupt Nature of Mankind in Sophocles’ Antigone Creon’s rash decisions and arrogant nature is the main problem for the corruption of mankind. The nature of mankind, as portrayed in Sophocles’ Antigone is corrupt in existence, thought, and knowledge. Creon is the main reason for this corruption. His arrogance and pride led him to make unjust laws. Creon rejected the thought of giving Polynices, the brother of Antigone and Ismene, a proper

The Important Role of Pride in Sophocles' Antigone

1711 words - 7 pages In the novel Antigone by Sophocles, there is much betrayal in the novel, that a enormous quantity of the novel is generally about family, pride, and a drastic amount of drama. In the novel Antigone, the king Creon who was passed the thrown from Etocles because his brother Polynecies killed him for the ruling of Thebes but they both ended dying and Creon does not let anyone bury the body of Polynecies because he was a trader fighting against his

Analysis of Antigone by Sophocles

1285 words - 6 pages Miguel Perez Written Assignment: Antigone 5/28/2014 In the play “Antigone” by Sophocles we the reader are presented with the tragic events that befell that of Antigone (the character) when he tried to do right by the laws endowed by the gods. These laws would inevitably clash with the royal edict King Creon asserted (no one was to “grace him with sepulture or lament, but leave him unburied…Antigone 11). In the play Antigone becomes the

The concept of Parrhesia in Antigone, by Sophocles

2007 words - 8 pages In literature, as in life, justice is in the eye of the beholder. Sophocles' classic tragedy Antigone illustrates this through the story of a woman and a man who stand up for what they believe is just. Antigone takes a risk by defying Creon, the king of Thebes. She buries her brother whom Creon ruled would be denied a proper burial and left to dwell in the underworld as punishment for treason. Antigone believes that it is only just to give her

The Crucial Role of Teiresias in Sophocles’ Antigone

674 words - 3 pages The Crucial Role of Teiresias in Sophocles’ Antigone Antigone is a tragic play written by Sophocles in ancient Greece during approximately 441 B.C. The story is set in a palace in Thebes, a city within Greece. Teiresias is an old blind prophet who claims to be capable of seeing the future, he has yet to tell a prophesy to be untrue; he has immense credibility. A theme within the text is: quality not quantity. In this translation of Antigone

A Production of Sophocles' Antigone

1611 words - 6 pages To direct a production of Antigone, one has to consider the fundamentals of the playtext and the history of the plays productions. The context that the play was written in, the playwright himself and the major themes of the play and issues of characterization must all be considered before setting out on such a task, especially if the play in question happens to be two and a half thousand years old. In the fifth century B.C. Sophocles wrote

The Tragedy of Sophocles' Antigone

969 words - 4 pages The Tragedy of Antigone  In the story of Antigone, Oedipus has already died, his two sons. Polyneices and Eteocles, left to contend for the throne of Thebes. In their contention for the throne, the two brothers slay one another, leaving Creon once again to be the acting regent of Thebes. With this power, Creon declares that Polyneices must be left to rot on the battlefield, the highest disgrace to any Greek. Antigone, daughter of

The Source of Conflict between Antigone and Creon in Sophocles' Antigone

1276 words - 5 pages The Source of Conflict between Antigone and Creon in Sophocles’ “Antigone” In the following paper, I plan to discuss the source of conflict between the title characters of Antigone and Creon in Sophocles’ “Antigone”. I also plan to discuss how each character justifies his or her actions and what arguments they give for their justifications. I will also write about the strengths and weaknesses of these arguments. The final points I try to

Similar Essays

Significance Of The Women In Sophocles' Antigone

2556 words - 10 pages Significance of the Women in Antigone                 Michael J. O’Brien in the Introduction to Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, maintains that there is “a good deal of evidence to support this view” that the fifth century playwright was the “educator of his people” and a “teacher” (4). Sophocles in his tragedy Antigone teaches about “morally desirable attitudes and behavior,” (4) and uses a woman as heroine and another

Nature Of The Conflict In Sophocles' Antigone

2421 words - 10 pages The Nature of the Conflict in Antigone       In “Sophocles’ Praise of Man and the Conflicts of the Antigone,” Charles Paul Segal explains the nature of the conflict between Antigone and Creon: The conflict between Creon and Antigone has its starting point in the problems of law and justice. At any rate, the difference is most explicitly formulated in these terms in Antigone’s great speech on the divine laws. . . . Against the limited

The Tragic Downfalls Of Creon And Antigone In Sophocles' Antigone

722 words - 3 pages she cannot bear to live without Antigone. After hanging herself, Haemon proves his love for his “lost bride” by killing himself at the sight of “his luckless love.” The only people Antigone thought loved her were already dead so she believed she was long since dead. Her family loyalty lay with those who were no longer with her and she felt she must honour the dead. The tragic hero in Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ suffers many losses before succumbing

The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Antigone In "Antigone" By Sophocles

560 words - 2 pages Usually, in novels, the main character's strength overshadows his weaknesses. In the Greek tragedy "Antigone", however, the main character of the same name has as many strong points as weak ones. In the next paragraphs, I will point out Antigone's strengths, weaknesses and, finally, the evolution of the character throughout the play.It goes without saying that Antigone is an extremely strong woman for her time and even for ours. She does have