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Sophocles’ Antigone – Creon and Antigone are Two of a Kind

Creon and Antigone – Two of a Kind

A popular message of the media these days is that underneath the surface, despite our external differences, we’re all really quite similar. Whether or not that is a universal truth, it certainly applies to Creon and Antigone, the main characters Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone. They appear different outwardly but are two of a kind in personality. Throughout Antigone, they are in almost constant contention with each other. They are on opposite sides of an argument, and they lash out at each other unrelentingly. But, despite their obvious difference, Creon and Antigone are far more alike than they seem at first glance.

Both Creon and Antigone are very proud and don’t back down from what they have said. Antigone is convinced that she was right to bury the body of Polyneices:

But when my mother’s son lay dead, had I

Neglected him and left him there unburied,

That would have caused me grief; this causes none.

And if you think it folly, then perhaps

I am accused of folly by the fool. (ll. 455-459)

Transcendentalism in Beowulf and Antigone

Transcendentalism in Beowulf and Antigone

As time progressed through the various ages, Ancient to Renaissance, a trend began to form in the literature. The Ancient periods, reflected in the writings of the Taoists and the Greeks, were basically a time of transcendentalism. The gods of this era were treated almost as if they are friends to the people, or advisors; the gods controlled their fates and the uncontrollable, but the people were still very individualistic. As time progressed forwards, a trend swept Europe towards a period of theism, where the god or gods are treated as father figures; the gods controlled the lives of all their people just as parents control their children, even, as Martin Luther stated, with an attitude of fear. Through the periods of Ancient Greece, to Medieval Europe, to Renaissance Europe, a cycle forms from a completely transcendentalist attitude to a completely theistic attitude, and back.

Some of the first literature scholars have recovered through the years has come from the Ancient period, particularly from the Orient and Greece. These people had a strong belief in the will and power of the self, stressing the transcendental qualities to life; they encouraged people to look inwards for the answer instead of to the state or to God. Two works of this period that are representative of this attitude are the poems of Lao Tzu, a Taoist, and Antigone, a play by Sophocles. In Lao Tzu’s poem 47, “There is no need to run outside,” Lao Tzu writes, “. . . abide / At the center of your being; / For the more you leave it, the less you learn” (Davis, 832). By encouraging others to study the world from “the center of your being,” he clearly shows his interest in learning from …

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…ualist ideas, seeming to coincide neatly with the times of each era. As the literature of today becomes more and more romantically based and we probably draw close to the end of an era, we must ask ourselves, does the cycle continue? The Renaissance was followed by an almost purgatory spiritual reformation movement. In America, these cycles seem to have accelerated until they are a perceivable oscillating phenomenon – individualist in the 1960s, theist spirituality through the 1980s, and another transcendentalist movement in the 1990s, each shift pushing the two ideas closer together. Perhaps one day in the near future, these ideas will become similar enough in nature that they are somewhat joined to form a more moderate philosophy in society. Works Cited

Davis, Paul, et al., comp. Western Literature in a World Context. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995

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