VCCS Litonline


Jennifer Locklear
Play Review
Antigone
 

As viewed in this play, to what extent do people have control over their own lives, as opposed to being controlled by fate, the gods, their rulers, or other forces like luck or chance (mentioned by the sentry who lost in drawing lots and became the one to tell Creon of Polynices' "burial")?

 

In this play, there is a boiling pot of personalities in the characters, each having different reasons for the decisions they made. It is my belief that they all had control over their own fate. There is a distinct point in the play where each of the characters found themselves at a crossroad.        

            Antigone, although led by her religious and sisterly duty, could have chosen to obey the law passed by Kreon. She was wise in her thought process because she was aware that regardless of her decision, she will endure repercussions. It was her decision to defy a king to honor the gods.

            Kreon could have swallowed his pride and allow for Polynices' burial. His stubbornness was the key to his destruction. It Kreon too long to see what it seems everyone else already knew. Money and power is not everything if you have a people living in fear. The messenger speaks of Kreon in the Exodos, "He is the walking dead. Grant him rich, let him live like a king in his great house: If his pleasure is gone, I would not give so much as the shadow of smoke for all that he owns." Although Kreon's advisors and servants were aware of his ill decisions, they held their tongue. If he would kill his own blood for such an offensive as a proper burial, than what would happen to them if they spoke against him. Kreon is the true tragic hero in this play.

            Haimon initially seems torn between father and bride. He pleads with his father with such grace. He starts with praise and confirming his loyalty to his father. It is almost like in the beginning of the scene that he is trying to hide his anxiety and desperation over the death sentence of his wife to be. He attempts to plead with his father to just think about his decision and talk to advisors. Haimon pleads, "I beg you, do not be unchangeable: Do not believe that you alone can be right." Haimon witnesses Kreon's stubbornness and is unmoved pride and declares to the king he will regret it. He chose love for his bride and her decision to bury her brother. He puts his fear of the gods over his fear of his father. But most of all, he loves Antigone and does not want to lose her, especially at the hands of his father.

            Out of these 3 main characters, their reasons for their actions stem form different sources. The choices they made were their own. I think that they believed in fate, but fate was altered by their actions. Antigone and Haimon died at their own hands. Is there now spiritual condemnation for suicide? Antigone was led by her religious beliefs. Kreon was led by his own selfish adoration and need to be right. Haimon was led by love. I think if Antigone did not defy Kreon and left Polynices to rot, than Haimon would not have stood up to his father as he did.

This instructional web was made in July, 2002, by Prof. Eric Hibbison, who is solely responsible for its content.