Antigone is the quintessential character who knowingly risks her life to comply with divine order, familial loyalty and social decency. Antigone, with her defensive posture of sacred laws that no human will can prohibit, is the heroine that will die to defend divine order. The conflict is with Creon, king and uncle of Antigone and Ismene, who confronts the world of politics, the world of the dead and of the gods. At the beginning, Antigone is seen as a fierce and strong woman; however, in the end we see a fragile and terrified character who accepts her death. The antagonist, Creon, represented as the dictator of human laws, fights against Antigone as she defends divine justice against Creons moral justice to the bitter end. Her actions are uncompromising. She actively participates in the decisions she has taken and obtains her strength from the nature of the divine laws, that is, honor the dead and family values. Historically, Greeks held burial of the dead as the most sacred of acts. Even after the Trojan War, an agreement and ceasefire were made to pay homage to the bodies of fallen soldiers and conduct their funerals with admirable rituals.
There was extraordinary sense of identity that existed and played a significant role between the democratic city and those who fought for it. The citys and the individuals fate were one in the same and even after death, they would be remembered as honorable men continuing to live in the city. The story of Antigone begins after the armies of Argos has vanished and the two sons of Oedipus, Polynices and Eteocles, have killed each other in war. The city, represented by the Chorus, is summoned by the new ruler, Creon. It is here when Creon thanks the City for their loyal service and before announcing his first order of business, he dictates a proper burial for Eteocles to honor his loyalty as a defender of his city. He then prohibits, under punishment of death, any burial of Polynices as a punishment for his treason. The City is aware the gravity of this law is an assault on their religious laws, but ultimately, they submit to Creons law and are convinced that no one would sacrifice their own life to violate it.
Creon believes he is the almighty ruler and his rule over every man transcends natural law. Creon is an arrogant man and his power does not allow him to see beyond his own political will. He described his power to his son,you ought to feel within your heart, subordinate to your fathers will in every way. (Fagles, 202). Creon was fully aware of the natural law and custom of burial when he issued his order.
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