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“Antigone” by Sophocles: Antigone and Creon Characters

Character and motivation of Antigone and Creon

In the play, Antigone is mainly motivated by love for her family, respect for the gods, and belief in the afterlife. When she is faced with a difficult choice concerning new law, which challenges Theban traditions, she opts to disobey because of her great affection to her family and humility before Gods. She believes that love is a higher law that supersedes the state’s laws. Antigone argues that it is better to be dead since, in death, she will have more time to look after her family in the afterlife. Her character is revealed by her interactions with her sister and father-in-law. Creon is the king of Thebes and dedicated statesman who believes in the social and political order in the state. His main motivation is upholding the state. That is why he considers the rule of law to be supreme to other considerations. Creons character is depicted through his relationship with Antigone and Haemon.

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Disclosures through interactions and confrontations

Antigone and Ismene

Antigone’s loyalty and love of family are disclosed through her confrontation with Ismene. When Ismene opposes Antigone about the issue of burying their brother, Antigone tells her that she does not have fear for Creon. In this episode, Ismene is shown as weak-willed as she readily conforms to state laws. The conflict between Antigone and Ismene illustrates Antigone’s belief in love for the family to the point of dying for it. When Ismene requests to be executed together with Antigone, Antigone refuses and insists on being buried alone due to her love for her sister.

Antigone and Creon

The loyalty of the Antigone to family on the one hand and Creon’s beliefs about the state, on the other hand, are opposed in the play. Antigone has such a strong feeling of love for her family that she is ready to die for it. Even though Creon loves Antigone, he believes in the need to adhere to the state laws and that all Thebes’s inhabitants must obey the laws. Antigone’s blatant disregard of Creon’s decree infuriates him, and he eventually decides to execute her. Even though he later comes to regret his actions as his son commits suicide after Antigone’s death, Creon continues to serve as the king of Thebes due to his faithfulness to the state.

Creon and Haemon

In the conflict between Creon and Haemon, it is explicitly shown that Creon’s duty to uphold the laws of the state makes a slave of him. Creon is so committed to the state that it blinds him, and he forgets about the importance of loving his family, including his son Haemon. When Haemon beseeches him to pardon Antigone, Creon insists that the truth is already known, and therefore she has to die. He is unable to change her fate despite being the king of Thebes, as he also must obey the law. In the final part, Haemon’s love for Antigone makes him hate his disorientated father. When he finds Antigone dead, he strikes his father before committing suicide.

Major patterns of imagery and symbolism in the play

Various patterns of imagery are used in the play. For instance, Antigone is described by the Sentry as a mother bird when she goes to bury Polyneices’s body. This illustrates her maternal and caring nature as she looks after her brother’s body.

Another example is Creon’s reference to Thebes as sailing smoothly. He uses the imagery of sailing sheep to express his desire to create order in the state.

Creon consistently exercises imagery to allude to treachery connected with Polyneices. He is ready to feast on the blood of his relatives, and this illustrates how Creon regarded Polyneices as being a traitor to his kindred.

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Patterns of symbolism are also used on several occasions in the play. During his conversation with Antigone, Creon squeezes Antigone’s hand tightly. This symbolizes his disillusionment and iron grip on the throne, together with his desire to exert control over his subjects. Antigone’s tomb symbolizes Creon’s pervasiveness since he orders Antigone to be buried alive yet wants Polyneice not to be buried. Antigone’s entombment may also be used to symbolize her achievement in being able to reunite with her family in the afterlife. She boldly enters her tomb as she fully embraces her fate.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, December 9). "Antigone" by Sophocles: Antigone and Creon Characters. Retrieved from

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""Antigone" by Sophocles: Antigone and Creon Characters." StudyCorgi, 9 Dec. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. ""Antigone" by Sophocles: Antigone and Creon Characters." December 9, 2020.


StudyCorgi. ""Antigone" by Sophocles: Antigone and Creon Characters." December 9, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. ""Antigone" by Sophocles: Antigone and Creon Characters." December 9, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) '"Antigone" by Sophocles: Antigone and Creon Characters'. 9 December.

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