…book review: Antigone by Sophocles…

AntigoneAntigone by Sophocles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a classic story by Sophocles that pushes the ideas of justice, morality, and loyalty into the same realm as passion and sacrifice. Antigone has simultaneously lost both of her brothers as they fought on opposing sides of the same battle and her uncle, the newly crowned King Creon, has decreed that the brother who led the charge against the city of Thebes will not receive the proper burial rights. He issues this edict with the intention of discouraging future invaders, but he winds up making an internal enemy in Antigone. The play consists of the fallout and eventual result of the battle between justice and passion.

By way of my own armchair commentary, it is interesting that though a prominent, and seemingly popular, theme of this play is standing by your convictions no matter what, there is another major idea explained. How one determines what their life-and-death convictions are is a key element in the development of the story. In the Chorus, Ismene, and Haemon we see a teetering back and forth on the ethical seesaw as they attempt to  antigone1determine what they actually believe to be true and just. Antigone’s brash decision exemplifies the cultural events that tend to resurrect the conscience of the populace in many different historical settings. Extreme, and even irrational, people cause those of us who live in “the mean” to ask questions we do not tend to ask everyday. So while the story is obviously about Antigone’s stalwart stand against Creon’s seemingly unjust edict, it is also as much about residual demands that the prospect of her martyrdom makes on the lives of those who are on the fringes of the situation. We see this proven true in the end as the body count moves from one to three in the climax where Antigone’s actions create a domino effect.

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