• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How is the theme of death portrayed in Antigone and The Outsider?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Death is presented to the audience as a form of punishment, in both The Outsider and Antigone. But the protagonists in the two texts develop different attitudes towards death. Antigone anticipates her own death from the opening scene and faces it bravely, but her confidence wanes after she is sentenced by Creon and she begins to appreciate what she will lose. Meursault, on the other hand, is surprised and horrified when the court decides his punishment, but towards his conclusion of the story he accepts it. In the opening scene of Antigone, Antigone announces to the audience and her sister Ismene, her determination to bury her brother: "Be as you will; but I will bury him"1. According to Creon's laws, this is a crime to be punished by death, whereas for Antigone, the consequences of not burying her brother are worse than dying. Antigone shows clear awareness of the consequences of disobeying Creon's edict: "I knew I must die - how could I not?"2, and therefore her confidence makes her an extremely courageous character. By the use of this rhetorical question, Antigone makes it plain that there is no other way. Her reasons for disobeying Creon include pleasing the Gods: "I know that I am pleasing those I should most please"3. Antigone defends her actions on behalf of her philos.4 She explains the importance of pleasing her philos as well as the Gods of the underworld. ...read more.

Middle

Further, Meursault experiences irrational moments when he would "feel dreadfully cold... teeth would be chattering uncontrollably"11. Through this imagery, the author successfully conveys Meursault's feeling of terror regarding his future. Meursault is extremely anxious about his own death, occupying his mind with "trying to escape from the mechanism, trying to find if there is a way out of the inevitable"12. He is on the verge of a mental breakdown and to remain sane he makes an "effort to divert [his] thoughts"13. Meursault's reaction is the opposite of Antigone's who initially accepts her consequences with composure. Furthermore, there is a distinction between Antigone's and Meursault's reasons for being sentenced to death; Antigone is punished for disobeying Creon while Meursault is punished for not following society's social norms. Once Antigone starts to consider what she will lose by dying young, there is a change in her attitude towards death. She shifts from acceptance to becoming sad at the thought of "Looking at the sun for the last time"14. She regrets having "had no share in the hymns of [her] marriage procession"15. This conveys Antigone's regret at not having a chance to get a new start in life by getting married. She will also have no chance to do what other women take for granted, create a new life. Antigone reflects upon her life of misery and feels sorry for herself as she would "go unwept by loved ones"16. ...read more.

Conclusion

This oxymoron helps convey Meursault's understanding that people often lie about what they are feeling to be accepted in society, and may pretend to care when they really do not. He also "realized that [he]'d been happy, and that [he] was still happy"23. In his final moments, Meursault wished for "a crowd of spectators at [his] execution and that they should greet [him] with cries of hatred"24 which would represent their honesty as it is obvious that people do not understand him and therefore do not accept him in the society. This once again helps to reinforce Meursault's unnatural behavior towards death and how the majority of people would not understand his logic, which is the reason he is condemned in the first place. Both Meursault and Antigone change their perspectives about facing their deaths as their stories develop. Antigone's attitude changes from acceptance to depression. At first she reasons that her death is noble and heroic but as the play develops her reasoning leads her to feel regret and to long for a life of experiences impossible in the underworld. Meursault's attitude changes from panic to indifference. He is initially stunned by his verdict but eventually reasons his way into acceptance. By comparing Sophocles' Antigone with Camus' Meursault, it can be concluded that there is no single appropriate way to react to one's own death. Both authors also present the idea that the initial reaction may not be the same as the way in which death is finally faced. Words: 1465. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Anthropology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Anthropology essays

  1. While each Greek meal is fresh and inviting, it is also a trip back ...

    They drink wine for therapeutic reasons rather than social needs. I see one major differentiation in the cultures in regards to the ingredients being used. My family used olive oil a lot but does not use most of the other Greek ingredients.

  2. For my research I interviewed a person from Costa Rica. I found that Costa ...

    Most of the things seem similar to what the Aljendro said but there were many questions for which I thought the answers seemed a bit different. During Christmas the Costa Ricans generally have Tamale as per the research but Aljendro said that he has relleno (stuffing)

  1. Intercultural Awareness My Experience in Morocco. I experienced Moroccan culture and the ...

    Culture shock was first developed by Kalvero Oberg (1960). I felt a large amount of "psychological disorientation" (Mead & Andrews, 2009, p.371.) I went on a one month long holiday in July 2010 to a city called Marrakesh in Morocco. A majority of its population is Muslim. We did a lot of research online to find that it was

  2. Memorable events in Malaysian History and Culture.

    That same year, Sir George presented The International Badminton Championship Challenge Cup, unofficially known as the Thomas Cup, produced by Atkin Bros of London at a cost of US$40 000. The Cup is 28 inches high and 16 inches across at its widest diameter and consists of three parts: a

  1. What has made Cannibalism exist for such a long time?

    A more incontestable issue is whether regular cannibalism in groups of people makes the difference between adequate and inadequate dietary intake. The Aztecs of Mexico practiced regular costume sacrifice of captives and consumed the victims. Michael Harner (1977) and Marvin Harris (1977)

  2. Discuss Free Speech in China Compared to the UK

    government, without facing some kind of consequences, or being accused of ?subversion?. However, in order to assess the impact that these restrictions have on freedom of speech, it is best to look from a national perspective. As I previously mentioned, it is only a quarter of the population who have

  1. How do Biblical teachings affect Christians behavior and attitudes?

    It also states in the Catechism- a summary of the principles of Christian religion used for the instruction of Roman Catholics- that marriage is one of seven sacraments. The sacrament is a ?visible sign of an invisible grace? which brings Christians closer to God.[4] Permanence is the principle that marriage is for life.

  2. Indian Society Essays - Corruption, Linguistic Rights and a review of "The Palace of ...

    Corruption is a disease that is slowly but surely eroding the very foundations of our societies, eroding our identities. A change is long overdue. And hopefully the one we bring about will be the one needed. But if the children of today fall prey to the darkness of our times, then what will be, no one knows.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work