Theme Of Loyalty In Antigone Research Paper
The play “Antigone” by Sophocles, a greek tragedy, depicts the story of a brash young girl named Antigone who clashes with an oppressive king named Creon. Both Creon and Antigone have very differing views of loyalty. Whereas Creon shows his views that loyalty should be to the government, Antigone believes that loyalty should be given to the gods.
Throughout “Antigone”, Creon shows a profound support toward the idea that one should be loyal to their government. Creon displays his ideological standing numerous times throughout the play, usually during enraged outbursts in response to startling events. When Creon discusses his complaints on the difficulty of a king dealing with anarchy, he theorizes that “when the laws are kept, how proudly [man’s] city stands! When laws are broken, what of [man’s] city then?” (I.297-298). Creon’s conjecture displays the King of Thebes belief that loyalty to one’s own government should be a priority. In Scene II, Creon once again shows his view that loyalty to the government is important during his condemnation of Antigone, due to Antigone’s decision to bury Polyneices. After Antigone antagonizes Creon by stating that kings are free to do whatever they please, Creon retorts that Antigone is “alone here in that opinion” (II.403). The unwavering faith of Creon amidst a time in which many valid questions were being raised against the government by Antigone demonstrates Creon’s view that loyalty should be to the government. In Scene III, when Haimon confronts Creon after his ordered execution of Antigone, Creon displays his loyalty yet again. After Creon admonishes the suggestions of Haimon, Creon proclaims that the king “must be obeyed, in all things, great and small, just and unjust!” (III.528-529). At this point in the play, Creon’s subtle implications about his view on loyalty turn into bold declarations, as Creon stares down Haimon and tells him that it is the duty of civilians to obey their king. This declaration of Creon exemplifies that his view on loyalty is that loyalty should be given to the government.
In “Antigone”, Antigone’s views on loyalty are more so centered on the idea that loyalty should be given to the gods, as opposed to Creon’s view that loyalty should be given to government. After Ismene inquires as to why Antigone would disobey Creon’s edict and bury Polyneices, Antigone tells Ismene “I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy” (P.55-56). Antigone makes it clear to Ismene that she has no regard for the order of Creon, but instead her loyalty lies in what is considered holy, which implies her view that loyalty should be given to the gods. After Creon discovers that Antigone was the person who broke his order against burying Polyneices, Antigone and Creon have a head-on clash. Antigone chastises Creon by saying that his edict “was not God’s proclamation” (II.357). Antigone’s bold words demonstrate the vast hatred she has for Creon’s view that loyalty should be to government, whilst also once again displaying that Antigone believes Creon should be loyal to the gods and their proclamations. In the fourth scene, before Antigone is sent into exile inside a cave, Antigone reminds Creon that “you will remember what things I suffer, and at what men’s hands, because I would not transgress the laws of heaven” (IV.734-736). With her death imminent, Antigone decides to leave Creon with a simple reminder to lament on, which is that Creon will never forget what he has done to Antigone. Antigone’s final statement to Creon, which is based on Antigone’s ideas of the laws of heaven, epitomizes her view that loyalty should be given to the gods and their orders through the gentle reminder that Creon is damning a pious individual.
In summation, it is evident that Creon and Antigone both have different views on loyalty, with Creon believing that loyalty should be given to the government, while Antigone views that loyalty should be given to the gods.