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Antigone – A Life of Loyalty, Respect and Misfortune
Oedipus, King of Thebes, unknowingly married his own mother and became the father of four children, two boys, Polynices and Eteocles, and two girls, Antigone and Ismene. Antigone was very devoted to her family and was quite outspoken. She respected God and followed her beliefs to obey him. She was a stubborn girl and resistant to any dictator that would contradict her beliefs. The loyalty, respect and faith Antigone showed for her family and God resulted in heartbreak and misfortune for the royal family of Thebes.
Growing up in a royal family, Antigone captured strong values and shared a blend of love and friendship with her two brothers, and sister. Upon the death of her two brothers, Antigone’s values were questioned as she faced a matter of life or death. The tragic life of Antigone begins here, but does not resonate with the reader until much later. At this point, the reader does not have a chance to form a special relationship or feelings toward the characters of Polynices and Eteocles, as little is known about each of the boys. The feelings that are represented by Antigone begin to form the tragedy.
Antigone learns of the ruling made by her Uncle Creon, King of Thebes, to leave the body of Polynices where it lies. The King of Thebes rules that Polynices does not deserve a burial. Antigone’s strong will and resistance pursues and disregards the ruling of the King as she attends to the carcass of her brother. She displays noble traits as she progresses through life with the ideas of God, and not the rulings of a king. Ismene, knowing of her sister’s decision, disagrees with Antigone’s choice and wishes her sister well. The differences between the sisters’ characters are represented through the decision to do well by their slain brother, left for the wolves. The character of Antigone is very loyal to her family and does not waiver under the pressures of life. She is a strong, stubborn leader. Unlike her sister, Ismene is a shy girl and fears going against the rules set forth by her superiors.
Through the depths of Antigone’s sorrow and loss for her brothers, she knows what must be done. Antigone does not allow the ruling to stop her, and she will not betray her ideas of what is right. She is some-what of an activist, standing up for what she believes in, without fear. The respect for her brother and for death gives Antigone the courage to stand up to the King of Thebes without regret. “This death of mine is of no importance; but if I had left my brother lying in death unburied, I should have suffered. Now I do not.”
Even after Antigone, Creon’s son, Haimon, and the town’s people show resistance to his ruling, Creon’s stubbornness to stay true to his word causes misfortune for all of the royal family. Creon will not retract his sentencing of Antigone and destroys the relationship he once had with his son. The tragic ending is predicted with a final good-bye between Haimon and Creon. Responding to the threat of never marrying Antigone while she is alive, Haimon strikes back at his father, “Then she must die. – But her death will cause another.”
The conversation Haimon conducts with his father provides a window in to what is to come. The story of Creon’s stubbornness and inability to see the light represents the idea of karma and in a very dramatic way, teaches Creon of his ways.
Tragedy strikes the lives of the royal family when Antigone decides to take her own life rather than letting the king take it from her. She is too proud. As predicted by Haimon’s conversation with his father, Haimon lies next to Antigone and follows in her path. Learning of the news of her son, the Queen, Eurydice takes her life as well.
The pain and suffering put on Antigone when her brothers were killed was now placed on the king, two-fold. Now in the position to mourn for his loved ones, the King of Thebes has regrets of the fact that it was all an unnecessary chain of events in which he put into place. With the attitude of being above all, Creon lost everything that he cared about.
The strength that Antigone represented was a blessing, as well as a curse. She was strong and stood up for what she believed; however, it not only cost her her own life, but it also perpetrated the deaths of her fiancé and the Queen. Her actions were noble, with unfortunate effects. The story was a lesson for the king, a man who thought he knew it all, and controlled everything. He was mistaken, and for that, the tragic loss of his family occurred.
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