How are Antigone and Haemon parallel to Romeo and Juliet?
An answer by Suzanne Wheatley (posted at this site with her permission in October, 2004)
Both couples were star-crossed lovers, whom unfortunately had disputing families. The quarrels between the two families made it very challenging for the couples to associate with one another. Oedipus and Creonís agony towards one another was very similar to that of the Montigues and the Capulets. The households of these families were very cursed. Both families were always feuding and forbade their children to have any involvement with one another. Both Haemon and Romeo turn against their fathers to follow their heart and desires for Antigone and Juliet.
Despite these differences, both couples went through many obstacles to be with their beloved and turned against their family values. Though Antigone rejected Haemon in the beginning, he begged for his belovedís life. Even though Juliet was not Romeoís first love, Romeo would stop at nothing to prove the seriousness of his feelings. Both Haemon and Romeo had one true interest: love. Their idealism and their passion make them very unique characters. Romeo and Juliet secretly get married, taking great criticism and abuse from both sides. Haemon and Antigone never get the chance for marriage as tragedy occurs. Antigone wanted a decent burial for her brother, Polynices. Creon, Haemonís father, did not see Polynicesís death in the same manner and ruled that a burial not be performed.
According to the beliefs of the Greeks, a sprinkling of dust over a corpse signifies burial. Having done so, Antigone was sentenced to the dungeon where she was to die of starvation. With warnings of divine omens, Creon opens the cave to find Antigone hanging from a linen band. Haemon, who could not stand the thought of living his life without his beloved, cursed his father and took his own life thrusting a sword in his side with his father insight. The Capulet wanted Juliet to marry Paris, a kingís man of the Prince. Knowing he was to be her suitor, Juliet faked her own death by drinking a potion, which was to make her appear lifeless. The potion worked, but not to her favor. Word got out and Romeo killed himself because he thought his beloved was dead. Feeling guilty for her loveís death, Juliet took her life. Both Antigone and Romeo and Juliet are tragic love stories that never lead to an earthly union. Both families allow hatred to take control of their lives. This hatred eventually led to death. Both Antigone and Juliet were committed to their family values and to their beloved. This sincere commitment put them both in a situation beyond their control, leaving them feeling helpless and alone.
This instructional web was made in July, 2002, by Prof. Eric Hibbison, who is solely responsible for its content.