Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"I am WOMAN; hear me ROAR!" Welcome to Antigone! by Brianna Crampton

Dear Reader,

How many of you are familiar with the drama  entitled  "Antigone" by Sophocles.? I love this story, because I think individuals who stand up for what they believe in, even if they stand alone, are so amazing.  What are you willing to do for others? What are you willing to do for your own integrity? If each person had half the fortitude of Antigone, then we would definitely have less problems in the world. I wonder if Sophocles created her based on someone that he actually knew, or perhaps she is his concept of the ideal woman? INTELLIGENT! CONFIDENT! PRO-ACTIVE! CARING! HONEST! I admire her so much. This is the power of literature. We can connect with imperfect characters, and through their cathartic (I learned that word in my Mythology class) moments, we want to become better ourselves. Catharsis, by the way, is a Greek term that means to purge of emotion. So, when we experience pity and fear through Antigone's choice to bury her brother, we make a connection to ourselves. Would we do the same for our family members? I know that I would!

Allow me to give you a basic plot summary....

 Antigone has spent time caring for her aged father, Oedipus, who experienced a horrible fate. He learned that he unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. Upon learning this, he decided to punish himself, by taking away his sight. He poked out his eyes with the belief that he had "never truly seen, even though he had sight." 

 Antigone takes care of her father until his death, at which time she returns to her city-state of Thebes to find it in chaos. Her twin brothers have been arguing for the throne, and they have killed each other. One brother, Eteocles, has fought for Thebes and the second brother, Polyneices, has fought against Thebes. Her uncle, Kreon, has now taken the throne and he honors Eteolces with a proper burial. Polyneices's body, on the other hand, is left to rot in the streets, because Kreon does not believe he should be honored when he was fighting against Thebes. Kreon decrees that if anyone attempts to take care of Polyneices's body, that they too, will perish. Antigone tells Kreon that he is a fool. She reminds him that the "laws of the gods" are worth more than the "laws of man," and that she will take care of her brother's body, even if it means she will die. She buries Polyneices, and is placed in a dungeon, where she chooses to take her own life. 

This drama really pertains to the value of family over authority. Antigone knows that her brother's body needs to be cared for, and she also knows that breaking the laws of the land, or rather Kreon's laws, will cause her death. She chooses the "higher law," by taking care of her brother's remains. 

These are some of my favorite lines from the drama:

  • "I transgressed your law, Kreon, but not the laws of the gods. Their law is the law of justice. The unwritten laws of heaven are not of today or yesterday, but of all time."
  • "Behold me, what I suffer. Because I have upheld that which is high."
I highly recommend you read this exceptional piece of literature!

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