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Antigone is one of Sophelcles' most well studied plays. One of the central themes of the play deals with the conflicts between the two leading characters: Antigone and Creon. The play Antigone deals primarily with the conflicts between the individual conscience and the laws of the gods and the demands of the State. Antigone is a character who is dominated by intense feelings and moral beliefs. For example:
- At the beginning of the play Antigone lives in a world by herself, illuminated by her own imagination and innocence.
- By the end of the play, she no longer is the gullible, innocent character that she once was.
- Antigone repudiates the fallen world that Creon offers her.
- Even though the king has no doubt earned Antigone's scorn, he is essentially correct that death was her purpose.
In the play, Antigone is faced with the responsibility of bearing witness that Polynices body is properly entombed. This was more than a matter of loyalty, it was an act of piety demanded by the gods. Antigone undertakes that duty even though it means treason to the State, the rejection of her only sister Ismene, the renunciation of her fiancee, and her own death. Antigone is absolutely uncompromising about it, knowing all the consequences beforehand. Antigone is a clear example of a dentological moral stance. She believes that by abiding to her moral belief that the Gods demand the process of burial to be accomplished to their specifications, she will have remained in their favor.
Antigone and Creon
In the story, the relationship between Antigone and Creon is paramount. Had they found a way to resolve their differences and compromise or even empathize with the other person's position, the story might have ended differently. On the one hand, Antigone can be seen as wise and noble; on the other hand self-indulgent and arrogant. For his part, Creon can be seen as a tyrant and also as a politician and uncle whom Antigone places in an impossible position.