Examples of Fate and Free Will in Antigone

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About this sample


Words: 634 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 634|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Antigone, a play written by Sophocles, explores the themes of fate and free will through the actions and decisions of its characters. Fate, often referred to as the predetermined course of events, plays a significant role in determining the outcomes of the characters' lives. However, free will, the ability to make choices and take actions, also influences the course of events. This essay will examine various instances in Antigone where the characters' actions are influenced by both fate and free will, ultimately demonstrating the intricate relationship between the two.

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Fate is a prominent theme in Antigone, and its influence can be seen in several instances throughout the play. One such example is when Creon, the king of Thebes, decides to punish anyone who buries Polynices, Antigone's brother. Despite Antigone's knowledge of the consequences, she chooses to defy Creon's decree and bury her brother, fully aware that she will face death as a result. This act of rebellion against the king's authority can be seen as an expression of free will. However, fate ultimately determines Antigone's tragic demise, as her actions lead to her own downfall.

Another example of fate's influence can be found in the character of Haemon, Creon's son and Antigone's fiancé. Despite Haemon's love for Antigone, he is torn between his loyalty to his father and his desire to protect his beloved. Ultimately, fate intervenes when Haemon chooses to take his own life after witnessing Antigone's death. This tragic turn of events demonstrates how fate can dictate the course of individuals' lives, even when they possess the ability to make choices.

While fate plays a significant role in Antigone, free will also serves as a driving force in the characters' actions. For instance, Antigone's decision to bury her brother goes against the societal norms and laws set by Creon. Despite the potential consequences, she exercises her free will and acts according to her own moral beliefs. This act of defiance showcases the power of free will in challenging authority and standing up for one's principles.

In addition to Antigone, Ismene, her sister, also faces a choice between fate and free will. Ismene initially chooses to obey Creon's decree, fearing the consequences of defying his authority. However, she later regrets her decision and asks Antigone for forgiveness, showing that even those who initially submit to fate can exercise free will and change their course of action.

In Antigone, fate and free will intersect in complex ways, often leading to tragic outcomes. The characters' choices and actions are influenced by both external forces and their own internal desires. While fate may set the stage for the events to unfold, it is the characters' free will that determines their responses to these circumstances.

Moreover, the play highlights the consequences of individuals' choices, emphasizing the idea that free will comes with responsibility. Antigone's decision to bury her brother not only leads to her own death but also triggers a chain of tragic events that affect the lives of those around her. This demonstrates the far-reaching implications of free will and the impact it can have on both individuals and society as a whole.


Antigone explores the themes of fate and free will through the actions and decisions of its characters. While fate influences the outcomes of their lives, free will allows them to make choices and take actions that shape their destinies. The play demonstrates the intricate relationship between these two concepts, showing that even when faced with a predetermined course of events, individuals possess the power to exercise free will and challenge their fate. However, the consequences of their choices highlight the responsibility that comes with free will. Antigone's tragic end serves as a reminder of the far-reaching implications of our decisions and the intricate balance between fate and free will in our lives.

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Sophocles. Antigone. Translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin Classics, 1984.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Examples of Fate and Free Will in Antigone. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“Examples of Fate and Free Will in Antigone.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
Examples of Fate and Free Will in Antigone. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
Examples of Fate and Free Will in Antigone [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 20]. Available from:
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