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Excessive Pride in Antigone Essay


PROMPT: Excessive pride is the main cause of the tragic outcome in Anouilhs Antigone.

The play Antigone, depicts characters showing strong attitudes and beliefs towards one another. The author, Jean Anouilh, portrays this through the use of two protagonists, Antigone and Creon. These characters show glimpses of excessive pride, thus leading to the deaths of Haemon, Eurydice and Antigone herself. In addition to excessive pride, both fate and love play a role in the causes of the deaths of loved ones. These deaths were a result of contrasting beliefs; Antigone stood for what she believed in, and died for what she felt was right, whilst Creon, the powerful King of Thebes, established a law prohibiting the burial of Polyneices. This conflicted with Antigones beliefs, therefore challenging her uncle Creon, and showing disregard for his ruling of Polyneices denial of burial rites. This in turn, consequently resulted in the death of Creons son, Haemon, and his wife Eurydice.

Throughout the play, conflict of dissimilarity develops between the two protagonists, Antigone and Creon. Antigone, a strong and young individual, is not willing to allow her brother, Polyneices, to be dishonoured in his burial. She believes her brother deserves a proper burial out of loyalty to her family. Creon is shocked by Antigones judgments, as she continues to disobey. Did you by any chance act on the assumption that a daughter of Oedipus, a daughter of Oedipus stubborn pride, was above the law? (p. 42). Antigone does not act on this assumption, even though she knows what the punishment is. Creons creation of his law conflicts with Antigones beliefs, thus causing a clash between the two. Antigone shows the utter most disregard to Creons law and advice. She is of the tribe that asks only questions, and hates mans hope. I spit on your happiness. I spit on your idea of life that life must go on, come what may. (p.58). This quote demonstrates Antigones rejection for Creons offer of happiness; rather sacrifice her life for her brothers burial. Both characters show signs of stubbornness, completely certain of their own rightness of their position. Antigones obstinacy leads Creon to a difficult decision, as it is his niece at his hands. In the end, Antigone continues with her convictions, leading herself to her own death.

Alongside excessive pride, both fate and love are factors that lead to the deaths of family members in the play Antigone.The play begins with the family of Oedipus, Antigones father. The audience is exposed to the marriage of Oedipus, the birth of his four children, including Antigone, and later the deaths of Oedipus and his sons, Eteocles and Polyneices. Thus, fate is the cause of these decisions. Alongside this, fate is what makes Creon new king of Thebes, and Antigones fate was to die trying to honour her dead brother. The first paragraph of the play illustrates this; my darling sister Ismene, we have had a fine inheritance from Oedipus. God has gone through the whole range of sufferings and piled them all on us, - grief upon grief, humiliation upon humiliation. This tells us how fate had treated the family of Oedipus. In addition, Creons fate was to lose all of his family and live the rest of his life knowing it was his entire fault. In the end of the play, Creon says, Nobody else to share the blame. Just me...I killed you. I killed you my dear. Not only did fate play a role in the death of Antigones brother, but also her love for her brother was so great that she sacrificed her life for the respect that he deserved. Also, Haemons love for Antigone had made him kill himself when he found her dead body. Creons wifes love for Haemon had made her kill herself when she found out of Haemons death. In the end, Creaon was the one that was denied love. Therefore, together with pride, both fate and love played major roles in the tragic deaths of many characters.

In conclusion, the tragic deaths of Antigone, Haemon and Eurydice were a result of fate, love and excessive pride. The continuous conflict between Antigone and her uncle, Creon, had fatal consequences, leading firstly to the death of Antigone herself. Antigones excessive pride in her beliefs, alongside Creons stubbornness, led to the devastating outcomes. Antigones love for her brother resulted in her death, and moreover continued with the tragic deaths of her fianc and Creons son, Haemon, and followed with the death of Creons wife, Eurydice. Thus, excessive pride, fate and love are all contributing factors concluding in the tragic deaths of characters.

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