Antigone’s Determination in Sophocles’s Antigone

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Sometimes it is hard to choose between following the law and doing what is best for your family, but Antigone has no problem with that decision. In Antigone essay examples, the Greek tragedy written by Sophocles, Antigone is the protagonist. Since both of her brothers died in the war against each other, Creon, her uncle, takes the throne. He does not believe that Polyneices should be buried, so he enforces a law to forbid it. Antigone proposes the idea to Ismene, her sister, of burying Polyneices, but Ismene is against helping Antigone complete this crime.

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Antigone gets caught and is sentenced to death, which causes the death of Haemon as well as the queen. Creon is left to bear with his losses. After the announcement regarding Polyneices burial, Antigone takes action and makes a plan to bury her brother and go against the law, showing that she is an independent, rebellious woman.

Antigone decides that she will bury her brother without regard to the amount of support she obtains, representing her separation from the views of Creon and other family members, such as Ismene. When speaking with Ismene about her plan, Antigone says, “But I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy: I shall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as he to me” (Sophocles 55-58). Even though Ismene believes that they should follow Creon’s law, Antigone does not care about what other people will think of her if they find out that she was the one to bury her brother because she feels as though this is what God intended. This shows that Antigone is independent because she does not need to rely on anyone else in order to get things done. The sentry is talking to Creon about his discovery and speaks about Antigone, explaining that “when this girl found the bare corpse, and all her love’s work wasted, she wept, and cried on heaven to damn the hands that had done this thing and then she brought more dust and sprinkled wine three times for her brother’s ghost” (338-342). Antigone feels heartbroken when she sees that her brother was not buried, so she risks it all and buries him again, proving that she does not rest until she completes a task. This shows that Antigone does not only act independent when dealing with people but is also independent when dealing with the law; she wants to be free from the law because it places numerous obstacles in her path before she is able to complete her goal. Antigone never stops to think about how others view her when it comes to morality because she sets standards for herself.

Antigone holds no worries when facing Creon; she even speaks against him without any fear because she feels her actions are just, further suggesting her rebellious side. When Antigone is discussing the faults of Creon while he is present, she knows that his decision “was not God’s proclamation” because “final Justice that rules the world below makes no such laws” (357-358). Antigone dares to speak against Creon, the man who holds all the power, proving that she will stand up against people who are acting unjust. Her actions opposing Creon suggests that she is very outspoken; Antigone knows that the other men around her will understand why she felt the need to bury her brother. Antigone lashes back at Creon when she tries to show him his faults, saying, “You smile at me. Ah Creon, Think me a fool, if you like; but it may well be That a fool convicts me of folly” (572-574). Antigone takes full control of the situations she is involved in; she rises to certain extremes with the knowledge that her actions will determine her fate and that they do not hold up to the societal norms. Therefore, this shows that she holds no hesitation when it comes to Creon’s immoral ways, even if she knows that her punishment from him could possibly worsen. Antigone bases her actions on what fits her morals, showing that she intends to only do good with her actions and knows her limits.

In Sophocles Antigone, Antigone shows her determination and brave character when she breaks the law in order to act upon what she deems correct and beneficial to her and the public. Antigone’s actions against Creon and society prove that she always strives to do what is right and is aware of the consequences of her actions. Even during a time of mourning, people still try to their best to please their god and do what is the most appropriate for their family.

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Antigone's Determination in Sophocles's Antigone. (2019, Apr 29). Retrieved from