Throughout the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles, there exists a dispute as to who should receive the designation of main character. Antigone, the daughter of the cursed King Oedipus, as well as Creon, stately king of Thebes, both appear as the key figures in this historic play. I believe that Creon, king of Thebes, should be considered the main character in this work of Greek theater. Three points can be used to make this argument: Creon suffers greatly, he learns a lesson, and is a tragic hero.
Creon, like all main characters in Greek drama, suffers many losses and undergoes emotional pain and anguish. A target of the curse on the House of Oedipus by relation, Creon was already a victim of fate. His destiny has already been predetermined by the curse on the house of Oedipus, so he must either undergo suffering, death, or even both. He loses his future daughter-in-law, Antigone, by initiating her death, his son through suicide, and his wife by suicide as well. Antigone broke a decree of Creon’s: not to bury the traitor Polynices. The sister of Polynices, she breaks this new law because she knows that in order to please the gods she must so the right thing and bury Polynices. When she does Creon sentences her to death by sealing her in a cave. After realizing that he has made a critical error, he and his followers unseal the rocky tomb to find that Antigone has taken her own life. Creon’s son, Haemon, the to-be husband of Antigone, rushes into the cave in mourning. He attempts an attack on Creon, but fails to connect with his sword thrust, and in anger and remorse kills himself with his weapon beside his dead love. Creon, overwhelmed with anguish, returns to the castle. But …
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…Gods have attempted to evade their fate, but have never been able to do so. Creon is affected by fate through the curse of Oedipus. The Chorus recites:
The stress of a Fate is hard;
Nor wealth, nor warfare, nor ward,
Nor black ships cleaving the sea
Can resist her, or flee. (35).
Despite the fact that the play’s name stands as Antigone, I believe that Creon should be recognized as the central character in this play. He lives longer, has more lines, stands in the middle of many moral arguments, and doesn’t pull a disappearing act in the middle of the play. Provided with this knowledge, maybe a reader will read the play Antigone with a new prospective, and look at the story from both point-of-views. Not placing Antigone as the ‘good-guy’, and Creon as the ‘bad-guy’, but thinking of the pair as good people fighting for the right in conflicting situations.
Essay on Light and Dark in Antigone
Use of Light and Dark in Antigone
The “Golden Age” of Greece is noted for its many contributions to the creative world, especially in its development of the play. These performances strived to emphasize Greek morals, and were produced principally for this purpose. Antigone, by Sophocles, is typical. The moral focused on in Antigone is the conflict between physis (nature) and nomos (law), with physis ultimately presiding over nomos. Throughout Antigone, King Creon is a symbol for nomos, while Antigone stands on the side of physis. To portray these ideas, light and dark images are used as a recurring motif to reinforce the theme. Light is used to show something good that is happening, whereas dark is utilized to show something of which the gods disapprove. Following with tradition, this play uses light to portray what is right in the eyes of the chorus and darkness to reproach the other side. As the play is carried out, the chorus is constantly changing its opinions, first believing in the actions of Creon with respect to nomos, then unsure of what to believe, and finally seeing that Antigone’s actions are more consistent with the morality of the gods and the truths of physis. Light and darkness are used to support in an emotional way the action of whoever the chorus is siding with at these various stages of the play.
It is clear that at the beginning of Antigone, the chorus favors the actions of Creon, or nomos. This is shown as Creon’s intentions and retribution towards Polyneices are justified by jovial words and imagery involving light. In the battle between Eteocles and Polyneices, although both leaders were killed, Eteocles’ army was the victor. To show that this was positive in the eyes of the gods, the first lin…
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… with connection to nomos was too high, and images referring to him are now dark and dismal. The play ends as the gods have turned their shoulder on Creon, and have made their final decision that Antigone is ultimately in the right.
Because the sole purpose of Antigone is to get a moral point across, the parallels between light and dark and physis and nomos are associated together, and used metaphorically to add diversity and imagery to an otherwise redundant script. In the first scenes, these light and dark images show the reign of Creon. These are followed by the indistinct and ironic middle scenes, and end with the gods choosing Antigone’s actions over Creon’s, leaving Creon spiritually dead and paying for his poor choices and conduct. These are very effective techniques, which allow Sophocles to more fully develop his play, and give it a more emotional edge.