Antigone, Agape, and Philia by Sophocles

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  • Topic: Love, Greek words for love, Agape
  • Pages : 2 (577 words )
  • Download(s) : 477
  • Published : March 17, 2011
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What is love? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes love as strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties or affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests. Really, there are three types of love in which one may speak of, and from these, the Greek author Sophocles used two in his tragedy Antigone, agape and philia.

When Antigone was caught after deliberately disobeying the law and burying her dead brother, she expresses her indifference about Creon’s laws saying, “It wasn’t Zeus, not in the least,/ who made this proclamation – not to me./ Nor did that Justice, dwelling with the gods/ beneath the earth, ordain such laws for men./ Nor did I think your edict had such force/ that you, a mere mortal, could override the gods,/ the great unwritten, unshakeable traditions/… These laws - I was not about to break them, / not out of some man’s wounded pride, / and face the retribution of the gods.” (Sophocles, 499-505, 509-511) Antigone expresses her extreme agape for her gods and how much their approval means to her. She refuses to listen to anyone over the gods and joyously supports her decisions. Agape love is the selfless love of one person to another without sexual implications, sometimes referred to as “parental love.” This is usually related to the unconditional love for a deity or higher power. Whether the love is mutual or not, the person continues to love without any self-benefit. Nothing can come between this divine, self-sacrificing adoration.

The other type of love is philia. Nearing the end of Antigone, Sophocles exemplifies the significance of philia love through the King of Thebes, Creon. Once Antigone has been sent to be killed, Tiresias persuades Creon to save her by saying, “The chariot of the sun will not race through/ so many circuits more, before you have surrendered/ one born of your own loins, your own flesh and blood,/ a corpse for corpses given in return…” (Sophocles, 1183-1186) Tiresias convinces the...
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