Reflection of Humankind in Antigone
In the play “Antigone”, the author Sophocles examines the precarious balance between being strong alone and being strong in a crowd.
The character Antigone chooses not to conform to society. Instead she stays true to her religious beliefs. Sophocles portrays Antigone as being strong alone when no one else supports her decision to bury Polynices. It is naturally tempting for humans to go along with the bystander effect. This is not true for Antigone though.
She goes against Creon in her efforts to bury Polynices alone. If she had not been alone in her revolt against the law, the results of her actions may have been different. Though the people of Thebes agreed with Antigone, the fact that they did not rise to her side could have been seen as a contribution to her downfall. Antigone disobeys Creon alone still knowing the consequences to come. She does not fear death or the wrath of Creon.
She says, “if I die before my time I consider that a gain”(515). Antigone displays no fear of the outcome her actions could bring. Despite all she has been through, she is still able to do what she feels is best even without the support of her fellow citizens of Thebes. Perhaps if she had succor and encouragement, the result of her behavior may have been positive instead of negative. Antigone isn’t the only one in the play who stands alone. Creon also stands alone but in a different way.
Even though the people of Thebes, except for Antigone, followed his law, they did not agree with it. They believed not burying Polynices was going against the gods “unwritten, unshakable traditions”(505). The prophet Tiresias, who is never wrong, tells Creon that it is not a good idea to not bury Polynices and that it will anger the gods. Despite the wise advice from Tiresias, Creon still passes the law that states no one shall bury Polynices or mourn his death. He stands alone in this decision and is not willing to listen to the opinions of others.
Not only is this a factor in Creon’s downfall, but is also one in Antigone’s. Sophocles play, “Antigone”, isn’t just a display of family dysfunction, it also reflects on humankind. It analyzes the struggle of finding a balance between being strong alone and being strong in a crowd. Both Antigone and Creon stand alone, but there intentions are different. Antigone has a strong grasp on her morals and is able to do what is right even when no one supports her.
Creon on the other hand does what he wants despite the fact it is wrong and goes against the gods. He would not let anyone help guide his decision down the right path. Though being strong alone can bring out good decisions in people, without the right mindset, a person may stray down the wrong path without guidance from others.