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In Antigone, Antigone perseveres through all her hardships and decisions with her morals and set of values. Antigone throughout the play is noticed to transform from being stubborn and underestimated to courageous and open-minded. This would eventually lead to her death, but she dies with pride and has no regret because she believes her act was morally the right thing to do by going against Kreon’s rule. Kreon’s rule was not to bury Antigone’s deceased brother, but she was willing to sacrifice her life for it. This shows Antigone’s motivations are love for her family and the divine law which she puts above all else. Antigone motives are shown throughout the play and there three key scenes to help prove that.
At the beginning of Antigone, Antigone and her sister Ismene return to Thebes in an attempt to help their brothers. The sisters learned that both of their brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, are dead which led Kreon to become the new ruler of Thebes. With this authority, he grants Eteocles an honorable funeral service for his brave fighting, whereas Polynices was a traitor, and was refused to be given a worthy funeral. Antigone clearly disagrees with Kreon’s inexcusable command and declares she will go against his rule so that his soul can be at peace. Entirely aware of the consequences of this action, which is death, she continues to vow her love for the family. This proves to the audience her strength and determination towards her brother. However, this great feeling of pride will eventually lead to her downfall as she is willing to give up everything for her family. In this scene Antigone develops into an admirable character in which she portrays her defiance and courage, pride and open mindedness, and sense of moral righteousness to show vital character growth as the play progresses.
In the next scene, Ismene rejects to take part in the crime against Kreon leaving Antigone all on her own. Ismene states “why rush to extremes? It’s madness, madness” (Sophocles 80). Ismene fails to comprehend the logic behind her sister’s desire of giving a burial for her deceased brother. Ismene gave countless attempts to reason with Antigone on why it is not worth doing the crime, but Antigone’s overbearing sense of pride blinds her to the downfall she will encounter. Antigone decides that “there is only one way: to do it herself, since it must be done”. Antigone has shown Ismene her commitment to the final decision she has made to stand by her brother being blinded by her poor sense of pride. This pride has an effect on her thinking and clouds her from using good judgement. For example, it is difficult for her to admit to anything wrong that she has done.
Finally, towards the end of the play, Antigone is unhappy not because of what she has done or her behavior but rather saddened by the unjust reasoning of Kreon and his death sentence. This does not mean she had regrets and that Antigone is fully aware of the actions and does not back down or show fear. In the end, she accepts the consequences given, but refuses to acknowledge what she had done was an unlawful act. She argues to Kreon that “if this hurries me to death before my time, why such a death is gain”. This just mean that her crime is reasonable and that her death would be honorable along with her brother. This strong support and loyalty to the divine laws rather than state laws allow her to defy Kreon’s orders. She listens and pleases to the Gods rather than a tyrannical ruler. By demonstrating her rebellion against Kreon, Antigone has nothing to hesitate about other than the moral values she has set for her brother.
Overall, Antigone demonstrates valuable character growth and maturity throughout the play that shape her as a character. She transforms from being open-minded and stubborn to an accepting and courageous woman. She accepts the consequences and is willing to give her life for the honor of her family. This sense of pride helps her to combat destiny but also leads to her ultimate death. Her overbearing amount of pride has taken control of good judgment skills and has affected every decision she encountered. Antigone’s strong and steady foundation of defiance helps her to overcome the opinions of the people and commit to helping her brother no matter what the state laws are. She ignores what everyone says and does only as she wants. She is powerful, both physically and mentally, and is successful in her tasks. Antigone matures into a commendable and respectable character in which she depicts her rebelliousness and bravery, pride and tolerance, and sense of moral righteousness to demonstrate fundamental character development in the play.
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