The first important character in the play is Creon. Creon rose to power after the death of Eteocles and Polyneices and thus inherited the throne from his father. The play has depicted Creon as a reliable statesman who has consistently been helping the rulers of Thebes for many years. He is a rational leader who uses a level headed approach to leadership. He has always been seen as having a close relationship with the gods; however, this changes when he refuses to treat the dead with dignity and in the case where Antigone buries her brother. The designing of the play depicts Creon as an antagonist, and his actions are not considered to that of the villains (Rokem, 2006). The actions of Creon are not in any way evil, but the situation at the ground is that he is trying to stabilize the country that has been affected by civil war. The most imminent example is when Creon states that Polyneices shall not receive a proper burial because he led the army against the country. According to Creon, this is the best way to treat those who turn their backs on the land. Creon is a committed citizen, leader, and nationalist. His belief system is firm as it is all about choosing the good of the nation over the evil deeds. The play depicts Creon as a leader who can not trade the stability and safety of the country for sentimentality(Rokem, 2006).
Antigone is the main protagonist in the play. She is the daughter of Oedipus and a niece to Creon. She is depicted as a character who is pious, brave and loyal to her family. According to the play, Antigone is the embodiment of the reason in many scenarios in the play. Brevity is seen when she decides to give her brother a decent burial even after Creon was against it. She is not afraid of her actions and goes ahead to claim responsibility for her actions. She boldly accuses Creon of impiety and expresses the superiority of the unwritten law of the gods (Agard, 1937). Because she is faced with execution, she boldly says that she can die in peace and happiness because she buries the brother in dignity. The character of Antigone is used to depict the strong and resilient women who are out to outdo the status quo or the standards set by society. The most crucial aspect of Antigone is her family as it becomes her source of support and strength. She values family more than anything else, and this is the reason she decides to bury her brother at the expense of the Theban laws. In the situation where she was trying to bury her brother, she reprimands her sister who refuses to stand in the gap (Agard, 1937). She has strong beliefs that the only day she will be reunited with her family especially during her execution. The use of Antigone in the play was to ensure that the conflict between siblings and the nation on what is good and what is evil brought out.
Haemon is a strong character who in the play is the son of Creon. He is depicted as a dutiful son who respects the father and is loving to the father as well. Having a relationship with Antigone, Haemon is seen requesting the father to spare Antigone. This is proof enough that Haemon is a human being who has a loving heart. According to Hemon, the actions of Antigone were justifiable and right as it all was meant to give the brother a decent send-off. Haemon faces opposition from Creon especially now that he supports Antigone. This makes him be labeled a woman’s slave, but the truth of the matter is that Hemon was looking at things from the side of sense(Agard, 1937). He is an insightful son who helps the father by requesting him to listen to the needs of the Theban people. He is a wise son who holds on to that refusing to listen to others is foolish and irrational. Such actions and turn of events turn Haemon to be an enemy of his own family because he speaks from the side of sense and truth. Haemon respects his father, but he is not able to control his pride especially in a conflict between the laws of the land and the gods. Haemon is outspoken and bold because he is seen openly to criticize his father. Haemon is affected by Antigones death that he takes his own life as well (Rokem, 2006).
Ismene is another important character in the play. Ismene is a sister to Antigone who is afraid to help her sister out in burying the brother. She is not bold enough and is not aware of which side to be on. In one instance, she feels the decision by Antigone to bury Polyneices, but she cannot take part in it. In the play, she is seen as obedient as she is doing all these to avoid disobeying King Creon. She is rational in that she believes that flouting the law will only add more misfortunes to their family and no solution at all (Rokem, 2006). In the Theban society, men are all powerful, and Ismene is seen to be trying to go against this. She is seen as a loyal sister when she asks to die alongside her sister, however her wish is not granted. Her character is two sides as on one hand; it is timid and meek while on the other hand, it is pure bravery and loyalty. The fact that she cannot defy the orders given by Creon makes one question her loyalty to the family and her brevity as well. Ismene, on the other hand, could be seen as a coward who has no stand and has no conviction into her principles. She is a character who can easily be swayed away. She is a sensible and rational character who unlike Antigone is always worried about the consequences of her actions(Agard, 1937). She believes that suffering should be for a reason and is against unnecessary suffering. The family of Oedipus has gone through so many challenges, and Ismene is trying to cut this and help the family avoid further agony.
Agard, W. R. (1937). Antigone 904-20. Classical Philology, 32(3), 263-265.
Rokem, F. (2006). Antigone Remembers Dramaturgical Analysis and Oedipus Tyrannos. Theatre Research International, 31(3), 260-269.
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