How Does Creon Use Symbols In Antigone

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In “Antigone” by Sophocles, various literary devices are intentionally placed throughout the text in order to create the complex relationship between Creon's fate and death. Analyzing symbolism, diction, and personification in the concluding scene allows one to develop and fully understand the theme that these devices invent. Identifying symbolism gives one the context that is needed to discover the nature of Creon's fate. Again and again death is related with fate through the use of symbols. In the last scene, the messenger recalls how Haemon comes to die. Haeman draws “his double-hilted sword” on Creon in the cave where Antigone, Creon’s niece, lay dead behind him (Sophocles, line 1299). Creon runs to “escape him” but Creon learns …show more content…

Creon did not physically die in this cave, but the reality of his fate kills Creon symbolically. In “Theme and Symbol in ‘First Love’”, Judith Mills explains that the “skillful use of symbols and images” play an important role in finding the theme (249). The double-hilted sword that slays Haemon can be recognized as a symbol of fate. This sword represents the inevitable execution of Creon's “unwelcome fate” (Sophocles, line 1407). Therefore, no matter who the double-hilted sword kills, whether it be Creon or Haemon, the “vast weight” of death still lies on Creon's conscience (Sophocles, line 1338). Creon does not have the ability to reject death because his overwhelming guilt for his family's downfall internally kills him. Consequently, Creon recites that he wishes he were dead because he is “no more a dead man than one alive” (Sophocles, line 1386). Creon can not escape the death brought by the double-hilted sword, accordingly, he …show more content…

In one of the last lines of the play, the chorus references the gods in their explanation as to why Creon’s fate has been so harsh. The chorus explains that it is “irreverence towards the gods” that has caused the “retribution” to be enacted (Sophocles, lines 1410-12). There is an implication in the diction utilized with the word “gods” due to the context of the previous gods that were referenced in this scene (Sophocles, line 1410). In “The Interpretive Function of the ‘Seagull’ Motif in The Seagull”, Eli Rozik suggests that “recurrence, in order to be meaningful, presupposes a definite context” (83). When one reflects on the first time gods were mentioned in this scene, a definite context can be given. The messenger references the gods “Pluto” and “Hecate”(Sophocles, lines 1265-66). In Greek mythology, Hecate is known as a goddess that controls the crossroads because she is the mediator between the upper and underworld. Pluto was the Greek god of death. In "The Diction of Aristophanes", Herbert Richards emphasizes that “associations of verse help to suggest” (77). It is the gods of death being associated with fate that suggests death's involvement in Creon's fate. These gods are the personification of death in the play which is why the messenger hoped that “they might restrain their anger”; because death has the power to influence

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