Antigone: Fate Vs Free Will

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 745 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 745|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Role of Fate in Antigone
  2. The Dilemma of Free Will
  3. The Intersection of Fate and Free Will
  4. Conclusion

Antigone, a play written by the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, has long been a subject of debate and discussion among scholars, philosophers, and literary critics. At the heart of this debate lies the question of whether the characters in the play are driven by fate or free will. The conflict between fate and free will is a timeless and universal theme that continues to resonate with audiences and readers across cultures and time periods. In this essay, we will explore the complex interplay between fate and free will in Antigone, examining the actions of the characters and the implications of their choices.

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The Role of Fate in Antigone

In Antigone, the concept of fate is deeply ingrained in the narrative. The play opens with a discussion of the curse that has befallen the house of Oedipus, Antigone's father. The characters frequently refer to the inevitability of their actions and the futility of trying to defy the will of the gods. For example, Antigone herself invokes the will of the gods as the justification for burying her brother, despite the decree of the king. This fatalistic worldview is further reinforced by the chorus, who often laments the tragic fate that has befallen the characters.

Moreover, the actions of the characters in Antigone seem to be driven by forces beyond their control. For instance, Creon, the king of Thebes, is compelled to enforce the decree forbidding the burial of Antigone's brother, Polynices, due to his obligation to uphold the laws of the state. This sense of duty and inevitability permeates the play, suggesting that the characters are mere pawns in a larger cosmic struggle.

The Dilemma of Free Will

Despite the pervasive influence of fate in Antigone, the characters also grapple with the concept of free will. Antigone's defiance of Creon's decree can be seen as a testament to her belief in the autonomy of the individual. She chooses to honor her familial duty and religious beliefs, even in the face of almost certain death. This act of rebellion against the established order raises profound questions about the nature of free will and the moral agency of the individual.

Similarly, Creon's tragic downfall can be attributed to his stubborn insistence on exercising his own free will. He refuses to heed the advice of his son, Haemon, and the prophet Teiresias, leading to a series of calamitous events that ultimately result in the loss of his family and kingdom. Creon's hubris and refusal to acknowledge the limits of his own authority serve as a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked free will.

The Intersection of Fate and Free Will

It is evident that the characters in Antigone are caught in a complex web of fate and free will, with their actions influenced by both external forces and personal agency. The interplay between these two opposing forces raises profound questions about the nature of human existence and the limitations of individual choice.

On one hand, the characters in Antigone are subject to the inexorable march of fate, as evidenced by the tragic events that unfold despite their best efforts to alter their destinies. The curse that haunts the house of Oedipus serves as a constant reminder of the inescapable grip of fate, casting a shadow over the characters' lives and decisions.

On the other hand, the characters also demonstrate a fierce determination to exercise their free will, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Antigone's unwavering commitment to burying her brother and Creon's obstinate refusal to relent in the face of dissent illustrate the enduring power of human agency in the face of adversity.


In conclusion, the conflict between fate and free will is a central theme in Antigone, shaping the actions and motivations of the characters throughout the play. The tension between these opposing forces invites audiences to reflect on the nature of human existence and the extent to which individuals are able to shape their own destinies. While fate may exert a powerful influence over the lives of the characters in Antigone, their unwavering commitment to exercising their free will serves as a testament to the enduring resilience of the human spirit.

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Ultimately, Antigone serves as a timeless exploration of the timeless struggle between fate and free will, challenging audiences to grapple with the profound questions it raises about the nature of human agency and the forces that shape our lives.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Antigone: Fate Vs Free Will. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
“Antigone: Fate Vs Free Will.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Antigone: Fate Vs Free Will. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 May 2024].
Antigone: Fate Vs Free Will [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 May 25]. Available from:
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