Antigone by Sophocles
The play Antigone by Sophocles, it is originated in Thebes, where the city has just been torn by war. Many years have passed since there has been a real ruler governing the city. For Antigone’s two brothers have been in conflict over the rightful ruler of Thebes. Polyneices was the brother who was an exile and returned to the city with an invading army, while Eteocles was the respected brother in Thebes and also had the favor of Creon their uncle. During the battle the two brothers’ slew each other and Eteocles forces defeat Polyneices’ in the aftermath, thus leaving Creon as rightful ruler.
Creon decrees a law, which does not please Antigone, stating Polyneices’ body is not to be touched and left to rot, whoever disobeys will be killed, while giving Eteocles a burial ceremony. Antigone out of love and respect to her brother decides to disobey her uncle, which inevitably leads to her death. Antigone was a Character which was head strong and saw that it does not matter wither her brother had brought force to conquer Thebes or not but that he deserved at least to be buried, something every human merits.
In the play Medea by Euripides which is situated in Athens, Medea supposedly lives a good life with her husband Jason; she is foreign away from her homeland in a land very different from where she has been raised. The play begins with the main conflict; Jason betraying Medea to marry the King’s daughter in order to obtain an alliance with the royal house. Medea feels rejected her love shattered by the person she sacrificed most for, her one true love, Jason, she left her homeland and faced countless dangers for him, and then; to be betrayed, to be pushed aside.
In that, Medea’s warmth of feelings grows on the same stem as emotional excess and undeviatingly leads to violence and revenge. Love is the substance of dreams, devoutly; it is a consummation of happiness. There are so many kinds of love; they vary of course accordingly to the circumstances. There is the love, full of passion that is between man and women. There is of course the unconditional love between, brother and sister, and sister and sister, father and sister… etc.
It is powerful, blind and mysterious sometimes, yet the most fearful thing that circles love is its possession over the soul and the way it can sway us to do undesirable actions, which we might deem as crazy, leading us to our own doom. Hitherto, many have sacrificed because of love, that mysterious emotion which brings sometimes nothing but pangs of pain. In both plays I have noticed some actions that have sprouted from love and lead to unbelievable and unacceptable actions. These actions are deemed improper by society and have no explanation, because mainly emotions are hard to place under categories and logic.
Antigone wants to bury Polyneices, her brother who was a rebel against his own country, ‘Ismene, I am going to bury him. ‘P. 492. Even though Antigone knows that burying him is against the law ‘Creon has sworn no one shall bury him ‘p. 492. She is going to bury her brother Polyneices anyways because she loves him, if she did not love him, then why else would she risk her own life ‘ I will bury him; and if I must die’p. 493. Only love can cause a person to make such a rash decision ‘I will bury the brother I love’. Burying Polyneices is going against the law, which is unacceptable, yet here Antigone is ready to do it anyway.
Because to her law can not justify the indecency which her brother does not deserve. She is only doing this out of love for her brother. Antigone does bury Polyneices ‘Not buried really, but as if they’d covered it’ giving him a symbolic burial, which is almost good enough. This action has put Antigone in mortal danger, it is not really an unacceptable action in Antigone’s point of view, but it is one in the since that she broke the law and she put her own life in danger doing so, because really if she did not love her brother she would have never done these things.
After Antigone is caught and is sent to death Haimon Creon’s son tries to save Antigone his bride to be, but fails due to the stubbornness of his father. Antigone is sent to be put in a cave to die, Creon later on goes back on his punishment, but he is too late. Antigone is dead. Haimon loves Antigone so much that he cant bare the thought of living without her so he takes out his sword and kills himself ‘Haimon is dead; and the hand that killed him is his own’p520. This is the power of love and proof that it can make us do harmful things, things we would not do if we were not in love.
Because he loved Antigone so much he could not bare the thought of living without her ‘as he died he gathered Antigone close in his arms’p521. After the queen, Haimon’s mother heard of the death of her son she to killed herself ‘She stood before the alter, and her heart welcomed the knife her own hand guided’p. 523. She could not bear the lose of her son, she loved him to much. Like Hamion she too was helpless to the power of love, she just loved her son to much to tolerate the thought.
Once again she would not have done this if she did not truly love him. It’s that power that love holds on us that can lead us to such ways of doom and calamity. Medea like Antigone has done some selfless acts out of love. She killed the serpent that kept watch over the Golden Fleece ‘the serpent that kept watch over the Golden Fleece, Coiled round it fold on fold, unsleeping – it was I who killed it’ p. 31. The Golden Fleece was guarded by a very strong serpent that could have every easily killed Media.
However her love for Jason was too great she had to get it for him. Even though she knew she should not and that it was a dangerous thing to do, still she did it out of love. Medea did not stop there she went on to kill her own father for Jason ‘Showing much love and little wisdom. There I put king Pelias to the most horrible of death. By his own daughters’ hands, and ruined his whole house’p. 31. Here is proof that shows just how powerful love is, if it could get a daughter to kill her own father for some.
Just because that person loves her and she loves him back. She thinks there love is worth the life of her own father her own flesh and blood the same person that helped bring her into this world, this I find unacceptable and yet here it has happened. Loves causes unacceptable actions, sometimes it seems it can cause anything. What Media did is totally unacceptable and her only motive was because she loved Jason, she can’t justify it in any other way. She would not have done it if she didn’t love Jason.
Love causes improper and unacceptable actions as seen in the characters of the plays Medea and Antigone. As we can notice the calamity that have been sprouted by deprived love on many of the characters in both plays. We can only come to the conclusion that love has the weary effect of creating catastrophic consequences to all those who take it sometimes for granted and readily. The inconsideration of Jason to his wife lead to her feeling rejected and thus whirling her into a frenzy of death and destruction, displaying acts of complete savagery.
The fetal flaw that lead to most of the deaths in both plays was the letting go, the falling into the depth of the never ending cycle of love and believing it would last, by the characters. A good quote for love from the play Antigone explained love quite clearly was ‘Love, unconquerable Waster of rich men, keeper of warm lights and all-night vigil in soft face of girl: sea-wanderer, forest-visitor even pure immortals cannot escape you, and man mortal man, in his one day dusk, trembles before your glory.
Surly you swerve ruin the just man’s consenting heart, as here you have made bright anger strike between father and son and none has conquered but love! A girls glance working the will of heaven: pleasure to her alone who mocks us, merciless Aphrodite. ‘p. 511. As we can see how love can be both bliss and tragedy. For in that vast sanctuary of ecstasy in a world of dreamed up love, the result can be a never ending void of hatred if that love is not true. It is a strong emotion that can have fetal results if not taken with the care and readiness it deserves.
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