World Literature I: From the Ancient World to the Middle Ages
Week 2 Assignment 2
The play Antigone, written by Sophocles, is one of tragedy. It centers on the heroine Antigone and what happens when she tries to bury her brother, Polyneices, even though the King Creon, has clearly decreed that because of this treason no one should attempt to bury his body. Further, anyone who defies his orders will be put to death. An element of the play is family loyalty, but there is clearly another element, that of the feminine revolution. Imprisoned in a patriarchal society, Antigone does not acquiesce as her sister Ismene does, but it becomes a play of man versus woman and the struggle for power.
There is certainly a component of virtue ethics and moral duty interwoven in the play. Virtue ethics emphasizes “the role of character and virtue in moral philosophy rather than either doing one’s duty or acting in order to bring about good consequences. A virtue ethicist is likely to give you this kind of moral advice: Act as a virtuous person would act in your situation. These ethics deal with questions such as; how should I live; what is the good life, and what are proper family and social values?” (Athanassoulis, 2010) Sophocles portrays Antigone as a child of a cursed family, even her name “born against”. Therefore, Antigone's destiny was to be a rebel. (Johnson, 2009)
Antigone was extreme and tempestuous as the Chorus said. The Chorus was the death messengers sent as narrators of her tragic life as well as revealing the character of her uncle. Additionally, the Chorus cued the audience on how it should react to the dialogue and consequent actions. Not only was Antigone loyal to her family, but she was also loyal to the gods and felt they were on her side. She felt the divine law was absolute and had no cares about governmental edicts. Family was important and it was her duty to bury her brother; whatever her uncle, King Creon had to do, then he...