Antigone Is the Last Play in the Essay

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Antigone is the last play in the Oedipus cycle written by Sophocles. In the play, Antigone, the Oedipus's sister-daughter challenges her uncle, Creon, who has ascended the Theban throne after he brothers, Polyneices and Eteocles, are killed in battle. In the play, Antigone defies Creon's mandate that Polyneices should not be granted a proper burial because he is an traitor and an enemy of the state. Because of her opposing views, Antigone can be considered to be a social and political outcast.

While Antigone can trace her roots back several generations, her opposition to Creon's mandate causes her to be considered a traitor by her uncle and those that follow him. Furthermore, because she is her father's daughter, as the chorus comments "Like father, like daughter: both headstrong, deaf to reason! She has never learned to yield. She has much to learn," she cannot allow herself to defy divine law in favor of man's law (Sophocles 375). Antigone is living proof of what happens when a person attempts to defy divine law and thus she understands how important it is to give Polyneices the same burial rights as her brother Eteocles. Antigone defends her position by telling Creon, "It was not God's proclamation. That final Justice/That rules the world below makes no such laws./Your edict, King, was strong,/But all your strength is weakness itself against / The immortal unrecorded laws of God" (357-361). Antigone's belief that divine laws have a greater and eternal impact on people also helps to influence her decision.
Moreover, Antigone will not apologize for her behavior and surrender to Creon's mandates. She is proud of her loyalty to her family and her beliefs and does not feel that she should apologize for what she has done. Antigone contends that she felt, "There is no guilt in reverence for the dead" (406). Additionally, she argues that regardless of what a person has or has not done in their lives, "there are honors due all the dead" (413). The more that Antigone defies Creon, the more distant the two become.

Regardless of their familial ties, Creon is obligated to use force to reinforce his mandates. In the play, Antigone defies Creon's mandate twice; the first time, there are no witnesses to inform Creon exactly whom buried Polyneices, however, the second time, after Creon orders that Polyneices be exhumed, the guards catch Antigone in the process of burying her brother and Creon feels that he has no choice other than to punish her in order to make it understood throughout Thebes that regardless of one's social standing, they will be punished according to his laws. Because Antigone is unwilling to repent for her actions, Creon orders that she be immured and sealed up in a cave. While divine forces attempt to intervene and save Antigone through a vision given to Tiresias, Creon's intention to release Antigone is short-lived as Antigone is found hanged before she can be set free.

While many are unsure of why Antigone defied Creon,….....

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