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Antigone: Theme Analysis

Chapters 1–2

❶Essay about a girl in old Egypt who tells about life there.

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Fate still is powerful in this view, but more so where humans are arrogant and blind. The purpose of tragedy then is to show how humans bring fate down on themselves. There is usually more than one choice available, and the tragic hero makes the wrong choice, as in the case of Creon. Antigone, however, is entangled in a legacy of fate that plagues everyone in the family of Oedipus. Her destiny seems more set and less her fault, though she does brings it down on herself by rebelling against Creon.

She could have chosen as Ismene did. In tragedy, Fate usually has the upper hand, because tragedy highlights the limitations of humans when they overreach, and when they do not possess wisdom. When Antigone is led away to her death the Chorus sings: Sophocles, like Shakespeare, includes political discussions in his plays that are important topics for the audience. What would the ideal ruler be like? Creon is king and in an early speech to the city elders the Chorus , he explains how he will be a tough ruler because of his loyalty to Thebes.

He will not let partiality or family connections dictate over the good of the city: He then tries to prove his tough impartiality by denying burial rites to his own nephew, Polyneices, who was a traitor to Thebes. Creon then sets guards around the body. The Chorus does not defy Creon as Antigone does, but they do give feedback to him at critical points.

Creon sees her as a rebel, a threat to his power: Antigone is more of a threat than a man would be, for she has the status of a slave in Thebes, and he calls her a slave lines A woman should not be seen or heard.

If he gives in to her, he is doubly shamed. First, she is a relation, and it would seem like giving special favors. Secondly, she is a mere woman, and yielding to her would make him seem weak. If he cannot rule his own house, he says, how can he expect to rule Thebes?

Haemon tries to explain that Creon is out of touch with the people, who with one voice support Antigone. While Thebes was not a democracy like Athens, a king needs the support of his people. Haemon wants his father to succeed: Haemon counts wisdom supreme: She is right in that everyone except Creon agrees with her. Wisdom is thus equated with balance. The Greek ideal of sophrosyne , or wisdom, stemmed from self-knowledge.

Such self-knowledge was supposed to be a lifelong pursuit and would lead to wisdom, balance, harmony, moderation, control, and good judgment. Creon goes in the opposite direction, choosing not to know himself and thus creates tragedy from clinging to his stubborn and egotistic will. Antigone may be wiser in choosing the gods over human law, but because her behavior is also rebellious and extreme, she does not create harmony around her and suffers the consequences.

Log in or register to post comments. We provide an educational supplement for better understanding of classic and contemporary literature. Please check back weekly to see what we have added. Holden Caulfield is the protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye, and the most important function of these early chapters is to establish the basics of his personality. From the beginning of the novel, Holden tells his story in a bitterly cynical voice. The particularities of his story are in keeping with his cynicism and his boredom.

Salinger thus treats his narrator as more than a mere portrait of a cynical postwar rich kid at an impersonal and pressure-filled boarding school. Even in these early chapters, Holden connects with life on a very idealistic level; he seems to feel its flaws so deeply that he tries to shield himself with a veneer of cynicism. The Catcher in the Rye is in many ways a book about the betrayal of innocence by the modern world; despite his bitter tone, Holden is an innocent searching desperately for a way to connect with the world around him that will not cause him pain.

In these early chapters, the reader already begins to sense that Holden is not an entirely reliable narrator and that the reality of his situation is somehow different from the way he describes it.

In part this is simply because Holden is a first-person narrator describing his own experiences from his own point of view.

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