EE cummings once said, “to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody elsemeans to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.” That quotation is exemplified in many works of literature, but the opposite is too. No matter what people try to be or not to be, they don’t always succeed. For example, in the play, Antigone, by Sophocles, the character, Antigone displays the idea of being her own person, but Creon displays the opposite of that.
In the prologue, Antigone tells Ismene that she will do whatever she wants pertaining to their brother, whether or not Ismene agrees and wants to do the same. Antigone tells Ismene, “If that is what you think, I should not want you, even if you asked to come. You have made your choice, you can be what you want to be.” Antigone displays ee cummings’ thought. The gods want her to think and act a certain way their laws but she has her own belief that her brother, Polyneices, should be buried and his spirit should have the proper life, instead of being punished. Even if he was brave, he should be punished. But Antigone doesn’t believe in that. No matter what the consequences, she fights it and does what she thinks is right.
Creon, the king of Thebes, exhibits cummings’ idea. Kings are always supposed to be these big, mighty, terrors that triumph over all and tell their kingdom what to do. Even if Creon did not want to commit someone to demise, he would, because that’s what he’s “supposed” to do. Creon may be trying to stray from being everyone else, and be his own person, but he’s not succeeding. He is what everyone else wants him to be: a controller over everyone. Creon believes that, “this is [his] command, and you can see the wisdom behind it.
As long as [he is] King, no traitor is going to be honored with the loyal man. But whoever shows by word and deed that he is on the side of the State, –he shall his [Creon’s] respect while he is living, and [his] reverence when he is dead (Scene 1, line 38).” But he doesn’t follow through on that statement. If Creon were to commit someone to his death, he would not give him respect when he’s dead. If a citizen were to commit a wrongdoing, Creon would punish them no matter what. Therefore, Creon is an example of ee cummings’ quotation.
Clearly, throughout this work, one can see the various ways in which characters act. They may be their own person, or conform to the rest. Some succumb to the pressure of others, some can resist it. The only question is, who’s who? Is the character who they appear to be, or are they just one among the rest?