Political vs Family Loyalty. Antigone Essay Example
Antigone, a tragedy one of the three written Thebean plays by Sophocles was written to educate young Thebeans on the importance of the city’s morals of the time period. In the story, Creon becomes king as an outcome of the civil war the two sons of Oedipus- Eteocles and Polynices began from a civil war over who would have the throne, resulting in their deaths. Antigone Polynice's sister was brave enough to break the city-rule, disobeying Creon by giving her dead brother a proper burial. Creon is reluctant to see views from her perspective, deeply impacting Haemon, his son, who was in love with Antigone and ultimately losing himself in the process. A well-distributed balance of family and political loyalty allows one to see from multiple perspectives, avoiding a clash between the two. The key features in this balance include family love, the moral use of power and one's awareness of the effects arrogance.
Ode four details the clash of family and political loyalty as Antigone breaking the city law, and giving up her life to give her brother a proper burial win over the people of Thebes. “But now, even I would rebel against the king” the Chorus cried out as Antigone made her way into the bridal vault where she was sent away to die (Sophocles Ode 4. 895). Metaphorically, Antigone would be making her way to her “wedding chamber” as the Greeks believed one who is sent to die unmarried is worse than death alone, signifying Antigone’s doom. Although Antigone was sent to her death bed, the chorus believed she had good intentions, justifying her death, as her brave actions made her honorable.Antigone's love for her brother overpowers Creon’s arrogance as the chorus started to question Creon’s authority, proving the power family has over politics.
Furthermore, Ode four portrays irony as Creon’s stubbornness and pride lead to his son’s betrayal, blind to the harm he was inflicting upon his son. Instead of letting Haemon and Antigone live happily, Creons harsh law separates them, unwilling to change his mind believing he knew best. The chorus described themselves as “mortals born to die” while depicting Antigone as a god, again proving how one’s loyalty to family overthrows their disloyalty to their ruler (Sophocles Ode 4. 926). Antigone’s choice to lose her life and die with a purpose won over the city of Thebes and Haemon as they acknowledged her actions even though she had broken her cities and ruler’s commandment, and ultimately defeating Creon. Antigone’s willingness to die for Polynices proved her courage, not allowing anything to reconsider her wrongdoing changed the mindset of the people of Thebes that their ruler knew best, shifting them to see her as innocent and virtuous.
Ode four also exemplifies how the misuse of power will eventually lead to tyranny. Creon abuse his power as he gave Antigone the death sentence, justifying her inability to give the least amount of human decency she could by giving her brother a burial. He goes on to identify himself as a godly figure capable of destroying people, “I would break all bounds when I see this—”, the chorus mock him for his rash decisions (Sophocles Ode 4. 896). Creon’s abuse of power led the people to grow wary of his rule and side with Antigone. His action led the people to believe that he is unjust for his position as king for defying the gods as he sentenced Antigone who the chorus compared to the Aphrodite - the Goddess of love, “But she was a god, born of gods”(Sophocles Ode 4. 925). The chorus allusion of Antigone as god-like figure enable her to have divine power, therefore superior to any “mortals” alone. Because of his inability to realize the pain he has brought to his loved ones, Creon ends up losing his son, wife, and niece.
Similar to the modern era, the Greeks valued their Gods, families, and city, Sophocles addresses influence these factors may have on oneself and their behavior. Ode four examines the disdain of Creon that embarks the downfall of his cherished family members, deeply impacting them. Creon’s unlawfulness separates their families, ultimately destroying their opportunity to rectify himself.