Some essays on the play Antigone.
Antigone Essay Questions
1. Hubris is the act of being excessively prideful, this is extremely significant in the play Antigone, as it is portrayed through one of the main characters. Excessive pride is mainly depicted in the character of Creon. Creon was the ruling king of Thebes at the time, and his decree that no one is to bury Polyneices is initially what created his pride. Throughout the story Creon refused to set aside his pride, admit he was wrong, and release Antigone.
Creon’s pride played a major role in the downfall of Haimon and Antigone. After Antigone was caught she disagreed with the king about the burial of Polyneices saying: “if I had left my brother lying in death unburied, I should have suffered now I do not.” Creon believed himself to always be correct, and even though Antigone proves a strong argument he did not back down because of his hubris. Even his own son came to him to vouch for Antigone’s release and tell him that what he was doing was morally wrong. Initially a friendly discussion soon turned into a heated argument ending with haimon saying “then she must die but her death will cause another.” Deep down inside himself Creon believes that it is right to release Antigone, but he hides this feeling beneath his massive amounts of pride because he fears of what the people will think of him if he withdraws his edicts.
Creon eventually agrees to release Antigone and let go of his excessive pride after his encounter with Teiresias “It is hard to deny the heart! But I will do it: I will not fight with destiny.” It was to late as Haimon had already committed suicide believing their to be no hope for Antigone, and dying with hatred in his heart towards his father. Creon’s pride kept him from doing what he knew was right, for fear of what others would think of him. He thought that the people would no longer respect him for going back on his own law, however, the truth is that people would believe him to be a stronger and more profound person because he knows when to set down his pride and do the right thing.
2. Ismene and Antigone, two major characters in the play Antigone, have different character traits that make them unique in their own way. Ismene is the sister of Antigone, they tend to get along, but hold opposite beliefs on the topic of the burial of Polyneices. Ismene takes the stance that they should obey Creon’s law and even attempts to dissuade Antigone from her choices. Antigone on the other hand is rash, bold, and courageous. She doesn’t have a second thought and immediately answers to her conscious telling her to bury Polyneices. After Antigone buries Polyneices, and gets captured by Creon, Ismene also wants to take part in the punishment because she sees why Antigone truly wanted to bury Polyneices, that is because sometimes you must break the law and answer to a higher moral authority for what is right. Ismene can be considered Antigone’s foil character in that she accentuates Antigone’s bold and brash characteristics more with her shy and safe mannerism. Antigone and Ismene are on two different sides of the character spectrum. On one side you have Ismene who initially wants to abide by Creon’s edict as to avoid a conflict, on the opposite side there is Antigone who hardly thinks about what she does, but rather does them then looks at the bigger picture. “ready, fire, aim” is an excellent quote for the description of Antigone. Though they are opposite in many ways the two sisters love each other dearly, willing to die together as one for what the they believe right.
3. Conscience vs. Law, a compelling argument in the play Antigone. Antigone chose not to abide by the law, followed a higher moral authority, and ultimately “won”. Antigone, unlike Ismene, chose to bury Polyneices and defy Creon’s rule. She acted on her conscience and answered to her own morals. In the play’s intro Ismene was just the opposite, she did everything in her power to dissuade Antigone from breaking the law. Ismene felt that laws were meant to be followed, and that without laws the world would turn to chaos. Both viable arguments, however, in the end conscience ultimately won because Creon gave in, giving Polyneices a proper burial, and he was on his way to release Antigone and apologize for his foolishness. The guilty conscience weighing on Creon’s heart was to much for him to bear. In the end he gave in to his guilt and chose to do the proper thing, however, because he did not set aside his excessive pride sooner, both Antigone, Haimon, and Eurydice met their untimely demise.