Both of these characters had great power but they feared losing that power or being seen as weak. Creon, by not allowing Polyneices to be buried, set the tragic events into motion. Creon wanted to show his strength through this decree, he wanted to be obeyed and he wanted to be seen as strong and unwavering. When he discovered that Antigone had buried her brother he sentenced her to death. When advisors told him he should reconsider his decision, he would not listen “Do you want me to show myself weak before the people/or to break my sworn word?
Due to his obsessive pride, Creon sees himself as greater than the Gods which angered them and as a result, Creon loses his family emotionally and physically. The start of the conflict in “Antigone” was because of Creon’s obsessive pride and the image of being greater than the Gods. In Greek culture, a burial is very important and must be “...performed with immense care, as the Greeks feared that the gods would punish those who neglected even the smallest detail” (Ancient Greek Burial Practices). Creon had no power on deciding rather Polyneices should have been buried at all because now not only did he receive a punishment from the Gods, but he has lost the trust of those around him, especially his family. And when Creon finds out that Polyneices body has been buried, he doubts the Gods for choosing to favor Polyneices, the traitor of his own kingdom.
When people defend what they believe in or who they love that is sacrifice. In order to be certain that her two brothers she loved had a proper burial and that their souls could rest, Antigone sacrificed her life. Regardless of the potential outcome; even if that means that she was going to have to challenge her uncle (King Creon), she plans on pursuing her quest. Polynices and Eteocles killed each other in battle for control over Thebes, leaving the city to the new King, Creon Jocasta’s brother and Antigone’s uncle. Because of the actions that Polynices took during the war, Creon labels him a traitor and halts any burial process, leaving his body for the animals (222-234).
Antigone being the one to fight for her beliefs and obeying the god's laws attempts the burial of Polyneices and goes against Creon’s law to prove to him that he’s in over his head that he has too much pride in himself, in lines 15-35 Antigone claims that she is going to go
In Sophocles’s play Antigone, the throne of the city of Thebes has fallen into the hands of Creon, Antigone’s uncle, after the sudden and tragic death of Eteocles and Polynices. Under his rule, a new law forbidding anyone from burying Polyneices causes Antigone to decide between staying loyal to her country or to her family. In the play Antigone, the most real tragic hero that prevails is Creon because he embodies all the characteristics that a tragic hero must have while Antigone lacks some important characteristics. To begin, Creon conveys goodness because he chooses to punish Antigone for her crimes to keep Thebes as safe and orderly as possible.
As the king of Thebes, Creon has the ability to do anything especially enforcing any law or commanding others what he wants, and ruling other people’s lives. Sophocles uses Creon to communicate that “excessive power or ruling” can be a harm or cause evil tendencies, instead of being beneficial by his actions towards his family and citizens. The power of Creon causes him to make an unjust law followed up by a harsh punishment, threatening the one who buries Polyneices with a death penalty. Antigone thinks that Polyneices deserves a proper burial. She asks “will you come?”(Sophocles, 31) to Ismene to come join her to the proper burial because “he is [her] brother, and he is [Ismene’s] brother, too (Sophocles, 32).
Not burying Antigone’s brother, Polyneices, was Creon’s act of injustice (hamartia), which categorizes Creon as a tragic hero with a tragic flaw. Ismene, Antigone’s sister, warns Antigone not to bury Polyneices with “Think how much more terrible than these/ Our own death would be if we should go against Creon” (Prologue.44-45). In saying this, Ismene is telling Antigone that their brothers’ deaths were terrible, but she would have one similar to their by going against Creon. This shows just how tortuous Creon has been as a leader that his pride causes him to think that only he is right, which causes him to inflict harsh punishments.
After hearing that her brother has died she is devastated. Yet to put matters worse her brother cannot be buried. In this play Creon declares that, "Eteocles, who fell like a true soldier defending his native land, there shall be such funeral as we give the noblest dead" (Antigone,119). Because Polynices has brought shame, dishonesty to the loyalty, and sought to destroy with his own city, the best way to make him pay for their lost is to not bury Polyneices corpse but "instead let it rot as food for carrion-seeking animals (worms, vultures, etc.)” (Antigone,120).
The burial of Polyneices is viewed nobly, yet Antigone is not faultless in that act. One of Antigone’s largest mistakes is that she burns bridges with those that care about her. Pleading with Antigone, Ismene laments “why would I care to live when you are gone?” (548). Antigone dismisses this heartfelt plea by deferring Ismene to Creon, thus isolating herself from her only kin.
In the play Antigone, Sophocles demonstrates the conflict between family and God through the characters of Antigone, Ismene and Creon. Antigone being ambitious and strong willed throughout the play, fights for his brothers honor and proper burial while Ismene on the other hand, is more timid fears the consequences that may occur if the laws are broken. For Creon he is the King and holds most power, until the Gods feel he is incapable. Antigone, Ismene and Creon all use logical and emotional appeals to achieve a compromise to either bury Polynices or not.
Antigone believes that her brother, Polyneices deserves to be buried. Antigone stated that, “Creon buried our brother Eteocles with military honors . . . but Polyneices . . . fought as bravely and died as miserably” (Sophocles 1022 lines 15-18).
In scene 2 Creon figures out that Antigone was the one who buried Polyneices even though she knew she had broken the law. Antigone believes that people would praise her but, because Creon is present, they do not say anything. “I should have praise and honor for what I have done. All these men here would praise me were their lips frozen shut with fear of you...
I used this quote from Antigone because it properly states Antigone’s viewpoint on Creon’s decree. As told in the story, Creon's decree was that no one could grieve for or bury Polyneices. Creon made this proclamation because when Eteocles and Polyneices fought over Thebes, Eteocles was pronounced king and exiled Polyneices from Thebes. Polyneices, in turn, formed an army to take on the city, ending up with Eteocles and Polyneices killing each other, thus putting Creon in the position of power. Creon then proceeds to label Polyneices a traitor and finally, makes his decree.
Creon believes Antigone should forget about her brother because he is dead. Creon expresses to Antigone that her actions will result in terrible consequences. Creon exemplifies that once someone dies from another city they are irrelevant by saying, “An enemy is and enemy even when dead” (15). Creon assumes Polyneicis is a trader because he vanished from the city of Thebes. Due to this incident Creon does not see a right for his burial.
However, Eteocles has been given a proper burial while Creon, the new king, has deemed Polyneices a traitor and therefore issues an edict forbidding anyone of burying him. Despite the punishment of death, Antigone buries Polyneices and is caught. Analogous to Bruno doing anything for the person in the song, Antigone risks her own life for her dead brother.