Oedipus, king of Thebes, unknowingly married his own mother and became the father of four children, two boys, Polynices and Eteocles, and two girls, Antigone and Ismene. Antigone was very devoted to her family and was quite frank. She respected God and followed her beliefs to obey him. She was a stubborn girl and resistant to any dictator who contradicted her beliefs. The loyalty, respect and faith that Antigone showed for her family and God resulted in the anguish and misfortune of the royal family of Thebes.
Growing up in a royal family, Antigone captured strong values and shared a mix of love and friendship with his two brothers and sister. Following the death of her two brothers, Antigone’s values were questioned as she faced a matter of life and death. The tragic life of Antigone begins here, but does not resonate with the reader until much later. At this point, the reader does not have the opportunity to form a special relationship or feelings towards the characters in Polynices and Eteocles, as little is known about each of the children. The feelings that Antigone represents begin to form the tragedy.
Antigone learns of the decision of her uncle Creon, king of Thebes, to leave the body of Polinices where it lies. The king of Thebes rules that Polynices does not deserve a burial. Antigone’s strong will and resistance persecute and ignore the king’s rule as she tends to her brother’s corpse. She displays noble traits as she goes through life with the ideas of God, and not with the decisions of a king. Ismene, learning of her sister’s decision, disagrees with Antigone’s choice and wishes her sister the best. The differences between the sisters’ characters are represented through the decision to do well by their murdered brother, left to the wolves. The character of Antigone is very loyal to his family and does not give in to the pressures of life. She is a strong and stubborn leader. Unlike her sister, Ismene is a shy girl and is afraid of going against the rules set by her superiors.
Through the depths of the grief and loss of Antigone to her siblings, she knows what must be done. Antigone does not allow failure to stop her and will not betray her ideas about what is right. She is an activist who defends her beliefs fearlessly. Respect for her brother and for death gives Antigone the courage to face the king of Thebes without regret. “This death of mine is of no consequence; but if I had left my dead brother unburied, he would have suffered. Not now.”
Even after Antigone, Creon’s son Haimon, and the townspeople resist his decision, Creon’s stubbornness to stay true to his word causes misfortune for the entire royal family. Creon will not retract his sentence from Antigone and destroys the relationship he once had with his son. The tragic ending is predicted with a final goodbye between Haimon and Creon. Responding to the threat of never marrying Antigone while she is alive, Haimon responds to his father: “Then he must die. But his death will provoke another.”
Haimon’s conversation with his father provides a window into what is to come. The story of Creon’s stubbornness and inability to see the light represents the idea of karma and, in a very dramatic way, teaches Creon its ways.
Tragedy hits the life of the royal family when Antigone decides to take her own life instead of letting the king take it from her. She is too proud. As Haimon’s conversation with his father predicted, Haimon lies down next to Antigone and continues on his way. Upon hearing the news of her son, the Queen, Eurydice also takes her own life.
The pain and suffering that Antigone endured when her brothers were killed now fell on the king, in two parts. Now in the position of mourning for his loved ones, the king of Thebes laments the fact that it was all an unnecessary chain of events that he put in their place. With the attitude of being above all, Creon lost everything that mattered to him.
The force that Antigone represented was a blessing as well as a curse. She was strong and stood up for what she believed in; However, it not only cost her her life, but also perpetrated the death of her fiancé and the Queen. His actions were noble, with unfortunate effects. The story was a lesson to the king, a man who thought he knew everything and was in control of everything. He was wrong, and because of that, the tragic loss of his family occurred.