Unintended Consequences in Antigone

Topics: Sophocles, World War II, Treaty of Versailles Pages: 3 (1116 words) Published: May 1, 2007
Unintended consequences are situations where an action results in an outcome that is not what is intended. The unintended results may be foreseen or unforeseen, but they are almost always logical or likely results of the action. These consequences could be positive or negative, but it is often said that almost all human actions have at least one unintended consequence. In other words, each cause has more than one effect, including unforeseen effects. A real-world example of this is the Treaty of Versailles, which was the peace treaty that ended World War I. Several countries were involved in treaty negotiations, but some countries were excluded and did not have any demands met. So what resulted is an unhappy compromise, sparking a chain of events that eventually let to World War II. So as a result, war was an unintended consequence of the the Treaty of Versailles. Just like in history, there are unintended consequences in Sophocles' tragic play, "Antigone." Tragedy creates a cause and effect chain and shows how the world operates, and it shows in this particular play. In Antigone, by Sophocles, Antigone and Creon are both blind to possible outcomes of their actions resulting in unforeseen and foreseen consequences that ultimately result in the death of Creon's entire bloodline.

An example of Antigone's unintended consequence is when she decides to bury her dead brother, Polyneices. Creon orders that no one is to bury Polyneices because he is a traitor. "...As for his blood brother, Polyneices by name, He broke his exile, he came back hungry for blood, He wanted to burn his fatherland and family gods Down from the top. He wanted to lead his people Into slavery. This man will have no grave: It is forbidden to offer any funeral rites; No one in Thebes may bury him or mourn for him. He must be left unburied. May birds and dogs feed on his limbs, a spectacle of utter shame" (lines 163-206). Antigone understands that Creon will kill her if she burys...
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