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'in The Antigone, Antigone Gets What She Wants, Creon Gets What She Deserves.' How Far Do You Agree With This View?

2015 words - 8 pages

To suggest that in Sophocles' Antigone, Antigone gets what she wants and Creon gets what he deserves is clearly a contentious statement. On a simplistic level this may seem to be the case: Antigone gets the burial of her brother which she desires from the outset, whilst Creon's life ends in tragedy because of his thoughtless actions. However, this argument is undoubtedly based on plain facts alone, and this analysis can conceivably be abolished because it ignores many other fundamental details of the plot. By contrasting the characters' ends with the experiences they undergo and their ends, it seems that Antigone does not get exactly what she wants, nor does Creon get exactly what he deserves.Sophocles characterises Antigone as a headstrong spirit from the outset; she wants the burial of her brother, and she is determined to get it even if she has to break the law and sacrifice her life in order to do so. Without examining any other events the fact that she does bury him does suggest that her aim is fulfilled. But this view is a reductionist, not a holistic approach to the play. To begin with, the plot of the play is based on the fact that Antigone did not get what she wanted initially, and so essentially Antigone never gets her way because Creon does not give Polynices the funeral rites that Eteocles had, at least not until Antigone is dead.However, there are many other ways in which Antigone does not get exactly what she wants. At the start, she wants her sister to help her in the act: 'will you lift up his body with these bare hands and lower it with me?' but Ismene declines: 'defy the city? I have no strength for that.' At least where her sister is concerned, Antigone obviously does not get what she wants: 'do as you like, dishonour the laws the gods hold in honour.' This trouble occurs again at Antigone's conviction. Antigone is clearly angry that her sister suddenly changes her mind and is willing to share the blame: 'I have no love for a friend who loves in words alone.' Whilst Antigone is determined to retain her loyalty for her brother, it seems Ismene's actions infuriate her to such an extent that she cannot retain her affection for her, rejecting her bitterly.Although Antigone does not get what she wants with Ismene, it may appear that she gets her wish as far as death is concerned. Originally, she is so full of passion for carrying out the burial that she says: 'if I am to die before my time I consider that a gain.' This apparent wish to end her cursed life and be with her family in the underworld is granted: 'my arrival may be dear to father . . . my mother . . . Eteocles . . . Polynices because I laid your body out as well, this, this is my reward.' However, her reaction before she is taken to the cave is not one of gladness, but one of resistance. Whilst she does not protest her innocence in an attempt to escape, she clearly mourns for the end of her life in her own lament, which is full of regrets that she never had the chance to...

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