Theme Of Free Will In Antigone

Superior Essays
“How does the conflict between individual free will and the state comment on the historical and social context of Antigone?”

The Greek tragedy of Antigone was written in 441B.C and encompasses important themes that were relevant to that time, such as the patriarchal setting of the society, the role of women and the conflict between individual free will and the state. Antigone follows the traditional form of a tragedy and it focuses on the protagonist with a fatal flaw that eventually leads to their downfall. Sophacles uses the play to comment on social and political issues of the time and set it 800 years before his birth as to avoid offending those in power.
Sophacles introduces the major conflict of the play between Creon and Antigone.
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Creon’s deep misogynist views are apparent through his debate with Antigone “But a women will never rule me while I’m alive” (p41). The outright act of disobedience that Antigone commits against Creon is humiliating to the king and causes him to question his masculinity. Creon feels demeaned as a man because he was so publically shamed by a women, the inferior. This reiterates the lesser placing of women in the society of the time. Haemon, Creon’s son is introduced as an opposition to Creon as he tries urgently to convince his father of a different solution. The discussion begins with Haemon trying to appease to his father “Father, I am yours” (p47) but then leads to a heated debate when Creon refuses to listen. This debate is used to further illustrate Creon’s intolerant nature, blasphemy and complete disregard of others. Haemon is disregarded by his father as Creon assumes that his views are being tainted by his love for Antigone and is completely unable to believe that he is in the wrong. Sophacles uses this conflict to guide the audience in realising Creon’s complete tyrannical nature and misogyny. The audience are lead to despise Haemon and feel saddened by Antigone, the heroine’s fate. Creon’s fear of disobedience in his family leads him to completely reject Haemon as his son and cast him out; this act further signs Creon’s downfall in the context of the genre. Sophacles begins to foreshadow future events to reveal the consequences of Creon not listening to rational advice which is an element of tragedy that links the characters destiny with their

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