Antigone Literary Analysis
Sophocles has written 125 plays, but only seven of his plays are with us today. Antigone was one that survived and is one of the most famous tragedies ever to be written. In the background of Antigone, the readers are informed about the two brothers, Polyneices and Eteocles, who went to war. Polyneices sided with the enemy and both brothers died. Creon, king of Thebes, gave Eteocles a proper funeral, but forbidden anyone to give Polyneices a burial. Hence, Antigone begins. Antigone disobeys Creon and performs the burial ritual for her brother, Polyneices. Creon, enraged, sentenced Antigone to her entombment. Haimon tries to reason with his father Creon, but Creon is blinded by his own pride. Antigone accepts her fate and kills herself. Haimon, Antigones fianc, takes his own life too and joins her. Creon realizes he must free Antigone, but he realizes it too late. In Antigone, the Gods were mentioned throughout the play; in fact, the play was greatly influenced by the Gods.
One of the first Gods that was pointed out in the play was Zeus. He was a powerful god in ancient Greece. In Antigone, Zeus was mentions first as, For God hates utterly the bray of bragging tongues (Sophocles 494). Zeus hated people who saw themselves in a pompous manner like when Polyneices tried to motivate the Argive army with boasts of greatness for example. Zeus was also mentioned when the chorus says, Loom upon Oedipus children: generation from generation takes the compulsive rage of the enemy god. So lately this last flower of Oedipus line. (Sophocles 506). The enemy god is indeed Zeus who first cursed King Laius. The chorus reveals this to Antigone, but she is already aware of it and is willing to accept it. Zeus was a major contribution to the events of the play because he was the one who created the curse that led Antigone to her death and his anger with Polyneices that caused the riot within the play.
Another God that Sophocles brought in his play Antigone was Aphrodite. Aphrodite was the Goddess of love and beauty. The chorus actually is foreshadowing to the readers when they say, Pleasure to her alone who mocks us, merciless Aphrodite (Sophocles 511). Haimon is engaged to Antigone, so its manifest that hes upset with his fathers decision to entomb Antigone. Haimon loves Antigone so much, but Antigone is willing to leave everyone and join Death. When Haimon finds Antigone dead, he loses all rational thinking and kills himself to be with Antigone. Aphrodite is tearing Haimon and Antigone apart.
Dionysus was the god of wine and fertility. The chorus brings out Dionysus when they tell the readers, And Dyrass, son also, that furious king, bore the gods prisoning anger for his pride: sealed up by Dionysus in deaf stone, his madness died among echoes (Sophocles 514). King Lycurgus, Dryas son, disapproved of Dionysus and attacked him. Dionysus imprisoned him in stone and drove him mad. Just like Antigone, who is imprisoned in stone by King Creon.
Sophocles did intend to bring the Gods to the play, Antigone. He created the sense that Antigone was under the control of the supernatural beings. Sophocles demonstrated it by bringing out Zeus, Aphrodite, and Dionysus. These gods all had some kind of influence in the events of Antigone. Readers will find it so when reading Sophocles tragedy, Antigone.