Heroes are virtually always portrayed as courageous, autonomous, and without error whereas villains are depicted as evil, tyrannical, and controlling. This is not the case in Sophocles Antigone. In this play, Sophocles contrasts his hero, Antigone, with another hero, Creon. Both of them compete for honest and justifiable reasons, but they have different motives. Although it may seem that both of them have ethical intentions, Antigone is the true hero because her actions are motivated by religious and family purposes while Creonr’s are driven by pride and a craving to have power and be King.
Throughout the play, Antigone fights for her family and her beliefs through respect and never arrogance or rebellion. When Antigone first discovers Creonr’s decree about the burial of her brothers, she wonders why [Creon has] honored only one of [her] two brothers with a tomb and dishonored the other (21-22). This is Antigoner’s initial reaction to the edict from Creon. This response is honest and true, and its confidence shows exactly what her motives are in all that she does. She does not respond with anger towards Creon, or one that is driven by rebellion for her own personal gain. This proves that her goal is to fulfill her family traditions by honoring both her brothers with a proper burial, not to discredit the kingr’s edict. Antigone and Creon debate the ethics of the edict, Antigone claims that it was not Zeus who made this proclamation, so she does not have to obey it (450).
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Antigone feels that divine law by the gods is superior to written law by a king, so she does not see it as necessary to obey the decree from Creon. If this pronouncement had been made by one of the gods, Antigone would have obeyed it, no matter how furious it made her. Her comments about Zeus prove that she is not acting out of a desire to be rebellious, but rather a desire to honor both her dead brothers. Throughout the play, it is clear that Antigoner’s actions are done to [join] in friendship, not in enmity, the complete opposite of Creonr’s intentions (523).
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