In the following paper, I plan to discuss the source of conflict between the title characters of Antigone and Creon in Sophocles "Antigone." I will also discuss how each character justifies his or her actions and what arguments they give for their justifications. Finally, I talk about who Sophocles believes is right as opposed to whom I believe is right.
The main source of conflict between Antigone and Creon is the issue of the burial of Antigone's dead brother, Polyneices. Both of her brothers were killed in battle; however one brother fought against their home city and was considered a traitor. Creon issued a law that whoever tried to bury Polyneices would be put to death. Antigone is very upset because her one brother is graced with all the rites of a hero, while the other is disgraced. Antigone is determined to bury her brother because of her loyalty to her family and to the gods. She believes that no mortal, such as Creon, has the right to keep her from her own. Even if Antigone must die during the burial, she will not disgrace the laws of the gods. She believes that she has to please to dead before she pleases the living.
Creon's states, "Whoever places a friend above the good of his own country, he is nothing." (Antigone 203-204) Therefore, he does not allow the burial of Antigone's brother because he did not place the good of his country first. He was a traitor is Creon's eyes. Creon made this law for the good of his country. The following statement that Creon makes exemplifies this: "I could never make that man a friend of mine who menaces our country", "Never will the traitor be honored above the patriot" (Antigone 233-235) Creon's argument is for loyalty to the country and he does not think that the gods would have any concern about the body of a traitor.
Antigone goes on with the burial of Polyneices because she claims that Zeus did not make the proclamation and that a mere mortal cannot override the gods. Her justification for the burial of her brother is that she will not break the laws of the gods. She already knows that she will die one day and she would rather die now than to let her brother rot. Allowing this would be a pain greater to her than death itself.
When Creon discovers that Antigone is the person that defied his proclamation, he still sticks to his word by punishing her to death, if he lets her go, he is not a man, she is. "This would be unheard of" states Creon, "No woman is going to lord it over me." (Antigone 588-589) Creon could not make a law and then take it back, especially not for a woman. He says, "I'm not about to prove myself a liar, not to my people, I'm going to kill her." (Antigone 733-735) Creon also feels he must defend the men who live by the law and never let a woman triumph or be inferior to a woman.
I believe Creon originally made this for the good of his country. He would not be considered a very good leader if he allows the burial of traitors. However, when he finds out that the one who broke...