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Antigone Commentary

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  1. Introduction
  2. The play switching over to Creon
  3. Playing the part of a loyal and faithful son
  4. Conclusion

Sophocles wrote three plays about Thebes and while the tragedy of Antigone is chronologically the third and last of these, it was ironically written first out of them. It opens up, giving little background, with the two sisters Antigone and Ismene discussing their two now deceased brothers in secret. Through their conversation we find that the brothers have killed each other and one is being refused the right of a proper burial. Antigone argues with Ismene that their brother who was deemed traitorous still deserves the last rights that everyone is entitled to. These opening lines describe what is the major controversy of the play and also open up the first moral question to the audience.

[...] Antigone is caught almost immediately and Creon after being assured of her guilt rashly prescribes a cold, dark, death by starvation for her. She is to be locked in a cave by herself where she will live out her dying days. Her sister Ismene storms in and experiences what must have been an honest change of heart. She tries to help lessen the blow to her sister by taking some responsibility for disobeying Creon but tries in vain. Finally, with nothing to lose, here Antigone is able to give her true opinion of Creon and his rule with her last words to him. [...]

[...] This choice for Antigone is also an effect of her culture and upbringing. She believes in the gods, and afterlife and all the trappings of their mythology so much that she is willing to give up her life in order to please the dead. Her reasoning being that while the living will be displeased with her, she would rather displease them than the dead, who she will have to interact with for much longer, and it is easy enough to see the logic in this. [...]

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