The drama Antigone is about a young girl whose parents, Oedipus and Jocasta, die. She has 2 older brothers, Eteocles and Polynices that are too young to rule so when they get older they battle to see who will take over the throne. While battling, they both die and their uncle Creon takes over. Creon decides that since Eteocles stayed in Thebes and gathered people to fight for him, he was considered to be the hero. Polynices, on the other had, left the country to find people to fight for him and was considered to be a traitor. Creon decided that since Polynices had done this he would not have a proper burial, unlike Eteocles. He would be left in the streets as a sign to the people that they were not getting away by being a traitor:
disobeys in the least will die, his doom is sealed:
stoning to death inside the city walls (41-43)!
Creon did not care that this was his nephew. He knew since he had just taken over the throne that he needed to prove himself to be a strong and unmerciful King. Creon stated that if anyone were to try and bury it they would die. Antigone disagreed with Creon, and wanted her brother to have a proper burial. She went and got Polynices body and buried it. This is when the conflict between Antigone and Creon was created.
Antigone was determined to give her brother to have a proper burial. Creon and Antigone both have very strong ideas why what they are doing was right, but they both can not see past there opinions to hear the others. They both are unreasonable. Antigone is trying to appeal the divine rights of the gods. She says that it is disrespectful to the gods for Creon not to bury Polynices. Creon on the other hand, is appealing to the man- made law. He knows that if he lets his family be above the law, he will not have a successful reign as King. Creon thinks that by punishing his family, he is showing the country of Thebess law and order in his government. He thinks this shows stability. The only thing he really was showing was how unreasonable he was.
I think that the second conflict between Antigone and Creon was man against woman. Antigone stated several times in the first few lines that she was not going to be stopped just because she was a woman. I believe that Creon felt as Antigone, a woman, was trying to take over and he felt threatened by her boldness against him. I do not think that Antigone was trying take over his throne, but I do feel like getting justice for her brother is what drove the passion inside of her. Antigone knew she had completely disregarded what the King had set as orders, but she also knew that she had stepped out of her comfort zone and also disregarded female behavior in those times. Her sister Ismene reminds her on lines 74-75 to remember they are women and were not born to contend with men. When Antigone was arrested, Creon was shocked that she had done this and disobeyed his orders. Creons shock soon turned to spite. He wanted to punish her for this.
Throughout the play Creon shows insecurity. I believe he is insecure in the people around when they disagree with him because he feels like a woman has defiled his throne by coming against his orders. In one instance as he is speaking to Ismene he makes this comment:
in my house, you viper, slinking undetected,
sucking my life-blood! I never knew
I was breeding twin disasters, the two if you
rising up against my throne (597-601).
Creon decides that Antigones punishment of death is not severe enough, so he sentences her to be put into a tomb until she dies. Creon wanted to teach her a lesson. When Haemon, his son, comes to him pleading for Antigones life Creon responds as such:
we must defend the men, who live by law,
never let some woman triumph over us,
better to fall from power, if fall we must,
at the hands of a man-never be rated
inferior to a woman, never (767-761).