Why the Reading of Antigone May Just be One of the Most Important Literary Pieces on the Passaic Academy of Science and Engineering Curriculum.
The Greeks have come and passed but their works and influence on modern literature is undying. One such piece of literature is the Greek tragedy, Antigone by Sophocles. I believe that students in Passaic Academy of Science and Engineering should all read Antigone. Antigone is about the main character, Antigone who buried the body of her brother against the order and law of the king. Antigone is a masterpiece filled with many themes.
One of the main themes of Antigone about the role of women and femininity. It explores a great contrast between the men and women and their place in society. “She has much to learn. The inflexible heart breaks first, the toughest iron / Cracks first, and the wildest horses bend their necks / At the pull of the smallest curb. / Pride? In a slave? / This girl is guilty of a double insolence, / Breaking the given laws and boasting of it. / Who is the man here, / She or I, if this crime goes unpunished?” (Sophocles, lines 376-383). The king Creon, chooses to punish Antigone and further agrees to this by stating that she is trapped in pride, though she is a slave. For him to be a man, he must punish her for her actions regardless of family or morals. Later on in the tragedy, Creon calls his son Haimon, who loves Antigone and he questions and forces Haimon to choose him over Antigone because she is a woman and someone replaceable.
In Antigone, the power women have in society is weak and because of this they are ordered about and ruled by men. In today’s society, discrimination against women still exists and this is a problem that students and people around the world should be aware of and learn more about. Antigone deals with real world problems.
Another theme of Antigone is the contrast between divine or religious rules and man made rules. Creon passes the law that no one shall give a proper burial to Polynecies who is viewed as a traitor to the state. Antigone on the other hand one of the sisters of Polyneices gives a proper burial to Polynices which goes against the laws set by man, Creon, but goes in hand with the laws set by the gods, religion. When she is brought to Creon to be questioned, she states, “It was not God’s proclamation. That final Justice / That rules the world below makes no such laws. / Your edict, King, was strong, / But all your strength is weakness itself against / The immortal unrecorded laws of God. / They are not merely now: they were, and shall be,…” (Sophocles, lines 357-362). Antigone tells Creon that his laws and powers are not above the laws set by gods. He is no god and as such his verdict has no power over her and her actions, which are in favor of the gods. However, Creon believes that his word and laws are supreme in this state, and that the gods would favor him over Antigone, since he is the king.
This conflict between which is more important, religion or the laws set by the state or man, is an issue that many young minds go through. Antigone delves deep into the contrast between religion and man, which makes the tragedy even much more surprising and interesting to read.
All in all, Antigone possesses many important themes such as fate versus free will, power and corruption contrast with family and politics and many more. With this many themes, an engaging plot, interesting characters that contrast from one another with different personalities, and the tragic element of Greek tragedies, Antigone presents the reader with various elements to look forward to when reading. It challenges students to read and understand Greek readings and even research the Greek mythology. Antigone is one of the few pieces of literature that is still relevant in today’s world, with its many themes relating to contemporary society. It is a read that all students should look forward to.