Antigone Conflict Essays

Antigone Conflict Essays-68
When faced with a choice that would preserve 'tradition' or his own interpretation of the rule of law vs.

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These three conflicts are very closely related, but this crude set of pairings helps to untangle some of the central issues of the play.

Antigone and her values line up with the first entity in each pair, while Creon and his values line up with the second.

, Sophocles describes the type of pride that allows men to create laws that substitute for divine principles.

In other words, when Creon creates a law because he believes it is divine will, that is the ultimate display of punishable pride, for no man can ever create a law that is equal to or above divine right.

Creon makes a mistake in sentencing her-and his mistake is condemned, in turn, by the gods-but his position is an understandable one.

In the wake of war, and with his reign so new, Creon has to establish his authority as supreme.Ultimately, then, because of these fundamental differences in philosophy, they cannot die together, though Ismene wants to.Antigone forbids it - she cannot bear to have her sister tag along when Ismene all along is in the camp of the patriarchs, despite her eleventh-hour shift.On the other hand, Creon's need to defeat Antigone seems at times to be extremely personal.At stake is not only the order of the state, but his pride and sense of himself as a king and, more fundamentally, a man.Men are stronger, she says, and therefore must be obeyed.Ultimately, however, we see that she has merely bought into the problematic concepts that Creon espouses, for even when Creon realizes he may be wrong, he switches his defense, arguing that even if he were incorrect, he couldn't admit defeat to a woman, for that would upset divine law even more than backtracking on his principles.As a result, when Tiresias comes with the news that Creon will suffer, Creon realizes that he has made a terrible mistake, and yet still refuses to admit it, bending to the prophet's message only because he wants to preserve his life, not because he knows he's gone too far.As a result, he must suffer the loss of his family.Athenians, and particularly Thebans, were sensitive to the idea of tyranny and the fine line between a strong leader and a brutal tyrant.Creon is in many ways a sympathetic character, but he abuses his power subtly - mainly by decreeing man's law as a consequence of divine will.


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