Will and arrogance

Antigone, the main character and source for the title of Sophocles’ tragedy, is characterized by a strict belief in the gods and a strong sense of family. She disobeys King Creon’s ban on burying her brother Polynices. In her view, according to the gods, everyone is entitled to a burial. She is even ready to accept her own death for this belief: “[…] I / Will bury him. I will have a noble death / And lie with him, a dear sister with a dear brother. / Call it a crime of reverence […]” (Prologue, Scene 1, ll. 71-74).

On the other hand, her sister Ismene sees this strong will as insolence. According to Ismene, no one should oppose a ruler, especially since a woman has no right to rebel against men, who are stronger: “We are women and we do not fight with men / We’re subject to them because they’re stronger” (Prologue, Scene 1, ll. 62-63).

In a similar way, Creon accuses Antigone of arrogance. She oversteps her bounds and insists her actions are honorable and moral. To make matters worse, she proudly displays her arrogance for all to see: “This girl was a complete expert in arrogance / Already, when she broke established law. / And now, arrogantly, she adds insult to injury: / She’s boasting and sneering about what she’s done!” (Act 2, Scene 5, ll. 480-483).

Antigone is certain that justice is on her side and does not attempt to resonate with Creon in their conversation. Rather, she provokes him and points out how inferior his position is compared to the gods: “And I never thought your announcements / Could give you—a mere human being— / Power to trample the god’s unfailing, / Unwritten laws […]” (Act 2, Scene 5, ll. 454-457).

Commitment, compassion, and determination

Antigone shows honesty and commitment, as she does not try to hide he...

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