Antigone: to Bury or Not to Bury, That's the Dying Question

Topics: Oedipus, Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus Pages: 4 (1319 words) Published: June 8, 2007
Antigone: To Bury or Not to Bury, That's the Dying Question

"To live or not to live, that is the question". In Sophocles' Antigone, Antigone buries her brother Polyneices and is told she will die because of it. Did she have a good intention in her actions? After reading this paper a person can see if they think Antigone was wrong in burying him, acting upon instinct, acting nobly, acting motherly towards her brother, or if she really wanted to bury him.

In the book entitled Sophocles' Antigone and Funeral Oratory, Larry J. Bennett and William Blake Tyrrell show Antigone as a noble sister towards Ismene. First, they state that when Antigone is alone with Ismene outside the city gates they start the plan to bury Polyneices, but Antigone says she would "like to do it alone" because she "will die nobly". In support to this point, Bennett and Tyrrell explain how Ismene wants to be a partner with Antigone in the burial, but she will not have it that way: "Ismene's plea fails, Antigone forswears her assistance in this burial". Second, they point out that "Ismene calls for secrecy", but Antigone tells her to "shout it out loud". To support this point, they state that Antigone not only wants to die, but to die for a noble cause and does not want to be kept from it: "Not because she wants to die but to die nobly, she does not want to suffer so much as to keep her from dying nobly". Finally, Bennett and Tyrrell say that "she is the last of the royal family" and is left "deserted" in an ally. To illustrate this point, they state that she wanted to be by her self with no one else: "She ends deserted, deserted of kinsman, deserted and alone, her isolation is complete". Therefore, Larry J. Bennett and William Blake Tyrrell reveal that Antigone is noble towards Ismene and wants to die nobly.

In the article "Antigone's Inconsistency", Matt Neuberg wonders if Antigone truly wanted to bury her brother, Polyneices. First, he states that "Antigone does not have...

Bibliography: Bennett, Larry J. and William Blake Tyrrell, "Sophocles ' Antigone and Funeral Oratory", American Journal of Philology, Vol. 3, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 1990.
Edmonton, Alberta, Sophocles ' Antigone, New York, Oxford University Press, 1973.
Jacobs, Carol, "Dusting Antigone", MLN, Vol. 111, No. 5, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 1996.
Levy, Charles S., "Antigone 's Motives: A Suggested Interpretation", Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 94, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 1963.
Neuberg, Matt, "How like a woman: Antigone 's Inconsistency", The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1, 1990.
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