Greek theatre played a large role in Greece. The citizens were supposed to learn from the mistakes made in tragedies. The citizens should have learned what not to be like as a citizen or person. In a Greek trilogy written by Sophocles there are two main characters, Antigone and Creon. They are both strong willed and stubborn people. Both being unwilling to change, they both seal each others fate. Creon is passionate. . Antigone is full of rage. They are both so similar they can not see eye to eye. Although they may seem quite different, Creon and Antigone share many similarities throughout he story.
They are both very independent people. Antigone is extremely independent.. She doesn’t mind doing anything on her own. For example, in the beginning of the story when Antigone is talking with Ismene, she asks for her help . When Ismene refuses she is furious with her. Then Ismene decides to act independently. Creon is also very independent. He refuses to accept anyone’s opinions except his own. When his son Haimon comes to talk with him he refuses to listen , claiming that Haimon is “girlstruck! ” and corrupted . Teirsesais comes and tells him a morbid prophecy.
Creon will not listen to this either. He claims that Teirsesais has been corrupted by money, like many prophets at that time. He finally listens to the Charagous when reminded that Teiresias has never been wrong. Antigone has no problem working by her self either. She demonstrates this when she slipped by all the guards that were protecting the dead body of Polyneices. Creon and Antigone are both independent, and they are both very loyal. They are loyal to their views. Creon is especially loyal to his laws. Antigone is loyal to her beliefs. Creon will not change his laws.
An example of this occurs when he and Antigone argue. He calls her “A traitor” For giving a burial for her dead brother Polyneices. He is so loyal to his own laws that he fails to see that he is disobeying the law of the gods. Antigone puts the laws of the gods ahead of the laws of the states. She goes ahead and buries her brother. Which was strictly prohibited by Creon. This shows her short-sightedness is because she only does what she thinks the gods want. Instead of abiding by the law that Creon decreed. Creon is also short-sighted because he refuses to believe any other opinions or laws than his own.
Creon and Antigone are both so loyal which can also make them very extreme. Creon is an extremist in reason. He thinks his law is the most important. Antigone is an extremist of passion. Creon is unwilling to put the god’s law above his law. He is unwilling to listen to the passionate pleas of his son to let Antigone live. He instead puts his laws first, and states that if he lets Antigone live after she has broken his law, “How shall I earn the worlds obedience? ” His extreme will, later leads to his son’s death because he thinks his son has been corrupted by Antigone.
Antigone is equally as xtreme and she will not listen to the reasoning of her sister Ismene. Ismene reminds her of the problems and dangers she is undertaking when she goes out to bury Polyneices. Antigone will not listen though, and this ends up killing her as well. Because Creon and Antigone are very extreme in their ways this can also make them cruel and foolish people. Creon is quite cruel to everyone around him. He never once listens to anyone, but instead he acts foolishly and hurts everyone. When he is talking to his son Haimon, he retorts that Haimon is “a fool” and that he is, “Taken in by a woman!
These words and his fathers attitude hurts Haimon and he becomes filled with rage towards his foolish father. Antigone is also cruel and foolish. Especially to her sister Ismene. Ismene tries to help Antigone in the start of the play. When she tries to tell Antigone not to risk everything to please the gods. Antigone won’t listen though, She just tells her “Go away Ismene. I will be hating you soon”, in a striking example of her cruelty. Ismene and Antigone have been caring sisters until suddenly Antigone abandons her because she does not agree to help bury their brother.
Creon also is cruel to his old friend and prophet, Teirsesias. Teirsesias comes to warn him that if he does not free Antigone that bad things will happen, but Creon doesn’t believe him. He claims that Teirsesias has “sold out” as a prophet and shows how foolish he is not to trust a long standing friend who has never been wrong. Creon and Antigone are both plagued by hubris. Creon wants to stand by the law he has made. Antigone is willing to risk it all to stand by the law of the gods and what is right. Creon’s stubbornness is clear when his old friend and prophet Teirsesias. Tells him to free Antigone.
Creon stubbornly refuses and remarks to the old wise man, “Bribes are baser then any baseness” Creon does not even listen to Teirsesias, who made him king in the first place. He is so stubborn that he refuses to listen claiming that Teirsesias had been corrupted by money and so his pride hampers his good judgment. He is so concentrated on everyone being corrupted that he does not even listen to common sense. His son, Haimon tries to come tell him that he should not sentence Antigone to death. Creon is outraged by his son siding with her. He tells Haimon that he is a “Fool, adolescent fool! Taken in by a woman! Haimon responds to this by saying that he is “perverse” Creon, even more outraged, calls him a “Girls struck fool” Haimon storms off with a loathing hatred for his father’s arrogant pride and stubbornness. Antigone has equal hubris herself. She is so passionate on burying her brother that she will not listen to reason. Full of arrogance and indignation, she will not listen to the words of her sister. Ismene warned her of the dangers of burying their brother Polyneices but Antigone will not listen. She calls Ismene a “traitor” for not coming to help her and Ismene shakingly eplies “I am so afraid of you”.
Antigone, instead of listening to the common sense of her sister, snaps back that “You need not be: you have yourself to consider, after all”. Later in the story Antigone is arrested for burying her brother and Ismene comes crawling back to her. Ismene breaks the conversation between Antigone and Creon by admitting that, “I am guilty, if she let me say so”. Antigone will not let her and retorts coldly, “No, Ismene. you have no right to say so. You would not help me, and I will not have you help me” This reveals clearly how arrogant and stubborn Antigone can be. Even after her sister ants to share in her punishment and crawls back to her.
She will not accept it to her own demise. Creon and Antigone are both remarkably similar people. Ironically, they are both so much the same that they can not see it. The flaws they share make neither of them willing to listen to the other. Many of their traits are identical, but their opinions are so different that they can’t stand each other. Sophocles did an excellent job in portraying the two vast extremes of the spectrum, passion and reason. This story hopefully proves to people that neither extreme passion nor extreme reason, but rather be in the middle and achieve arete.