Antigone - 13

Topics: Morality, Oedipus, Sophocles Pages: 10 (1735 words) Published: April 23, 2001

The main theme for Antigone is that people sometimes have to learn the hard way from

their mistakes. This theme is expressed in the final four lines of the play. They read, There is no

happiness where there is no wisdom; No wisdom but in submission to the gods. Big words are

always punished, And proud men in old age learn to be wise. These lines are an important part of

the play. They symbolize Creon's bad decisions, his defiance of the gods, the punishment he

went through because of his edict, and the wisdom he gained because of all his mistakes. "There

is no happiness where there is no wisdom" demonstrates how Creon not using wisdom in his

decisions affected him.

By declaring that Polyneices could not have a proper burial, he went against the gods and

the other citizens of Thebes's beliefs. This was not a wise decision on his part, and because of it

he lost his wife, his son, and his happiness. This is what is expressed in the line, "No wisdom but

in submission to the gods."

The edict and decisions that Creon made demonstrated that his law was more important

than the laws of the gods . His defiance of the laws eventually made him believe, by talking to

Teirisias, that something bad would happen to him, so he gave in to his decision. When he gave

into the gods he gained wisdom and learned that his actions would be punished. Creons edict is

considered his big words. In the third line it says, "Big words are always punished." Creons edict

was punished by his loss of happiness. In Ancient Greece, life was full of complicated questions

centered on the expanding Field of science.

Freedom of religion was encouraged to be exercised in the city-states and man was

focused on more than the Gods or heavenly concerns. As a result many new ideals and beliefs

surfaced. These new ideals and beliefs, though good in intentions, often conflicted with One

another and created complex moral dilemmas. Such was the case in Sophocle's play .

According to Richard Jebb, "It is the only instance in which a Greek play has for its central

theme a practical problem of conduct, involving issues, moral and political, which might be

discussed on similar grounds in any age and in any country of the world." Perhaps personal

experience is the reason why so many people can relate to this story. After all, the theme of the

story is personal conflict, with two stubborn people at a standstill because of their unwillingness

to compromise. The conflict between the laws of the gods and those of the humans, with

Antigone and Creon representing the opposite sides. Sophocles paints these two title characters

are remarkably similar, and he invokes the readers' sympathy toward them both. However, it is

Creon, and not Antigone, who is the "hero" of the story, because his character suffers a tragic


The primary conflict arises when Creon declares that no one be allowed to bury the body

of Polynices, one of Antigone's brothers who was slain in battle. Antigone, who cares for her

brother very much, wants to see him properly laid to rest, so that his spirit can find peace.

Unfortunately, doing so will mean certain death, as Creon's orders are not to be disobeyed.

Antigone believes that Creon's law is wrong, and that Polynices, although a traitor to the

city of Thebes, should be buried. She finds it immoral of Creon to forbid such an action. While

trying to convince her sister Ismene to help bury him, Antigone says, "The time in which I must

please those that are dead is longer than I must please those of this world. For there I shall lie

forever." (Sophocles, "Antigone" ) Creon, on the other hand, is a new king who wants to make

sure he becomes a respected and somewhat feared ruler. He does not want...

Bibliography: 1. Gillespie, Sheena and Fonseca, Terezinha and Sanger, Carol A.-3rd ed. (2001).Literature across cultures, Allyn & Bacon, Antigone 953-981
2. Aristotle. Poetics, XIII.3-6
3. Calder, William M. III (1968). Sophokles ' Political Tragedy, Antigone.GRBS 9, 389-407
4. Hogan, James C. (1972). The Protagonists of the Antigone.Arethusa 5, 93-100
5. Sophocles (1991).Antigone (David Grene, Trans.) University of Chicago Press.
6. Sophocles (1902).Antigone (Richard Jebb, Trans.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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