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IB ENGLISH ANTIGONE ESSAY

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Introduction

"Drama explains individuals, not relationships." Paying close attention to how individuals and relationships are presented in Antigone, say how far you find this statement to be true. In the play Antigone by Jean Anouilh, relationships are predominantly used to aid the description of individual characters and to explain the individuals. This is definitely evident throughout the play because the relationships in the play are insignificant on their own, however they are merely used as a device to explain individual characters. At the beginning of the play, we are presented the relationship between Antigone and her brothers Polynices and Eteocles, however it was solely used to add detail to explain Antigone. The brothers of Antigone fought each other for the power in Thebes, after their father, the King died. Both the brothers died fighting. The death of her brothers, led to the main event in the play, which was Antigone's failed attempts to bury Polynices. Eteocles was buried officially and given huge honour by their Uncle Creon (who became the King), and Polynices was left to rot. The death of her brothers helped to develop the story line. By understanding the relationship of the two brothers, and their deaths, we are able to understand Antigone. Antigone did not know her brothers well, she was not close to them because "they were boys". Antigone had an observer's viewpoint of her brothers. She could not see her brothers' greed and evil when they fought each other for power, because she was young and did not have much to do with them. To Antigone her brothers were simply her brothers, they were glorious men to her, not the greedy men that they actually were Therefore, Antigone became willing to die for the burial of her brother. ...read more.

Middle

With the burial of her brother Polynices and the way she broods over her choices, she makes it obvious that she is living up to these ideas. She even gets into a fierce debate with Creon, backing him into a corner despite his desire to try to help her. He gives her the option of avoiding the death sentence all together - he offers to remove from the equation the guards that caught Antigone, and simply pretend the whole thing had never happened. Antigone refuses this proposal, telling Creon that she will go out to bury her brother no matter how he may try to stop her. It is in this manner that the seriousness of Antigone's melodrama is revealed to the audience. Antigone explains to Creon that she owed it to Polynices to bury him, for "those who are not buried wander eternally and find no rest" (29). Despite her search for recognition as a teenager finding her way in the world, she also is behaving out of sisterly love for a deceased brother. It is in this one respect that she sets her behavior apart from the histrionic actions of the average teenager. Although she is somewhat different, the end result is the same: she continues to refuse the aid of Creon, and furthermore permanently resigns herself to what she sees as her fate. Antigone hints continuously that she wishes only to perform her duty, speaking as if she knows she is merely a character in a play, but that she can not hold onto this conviction long. She is living within the realm of her ideals and does not wish to have her idealism upset. ...read more.

Conclusion

His compromises are full of bitterness, rather than the desire to find a suitable solution to problems. Antigone is wrong because she throws to the wind everything that does not agree with her sense of idealism. She has seen in the example of her uncle that she will eventually grow old and learn to compromise when necessary. Again, she sees giving ground to be a conciliation of her childlike values. Eventually, this inability to attempt to meet the needs of others led to her suicide. She could not bear the weight of growing older, of compromise, and ended her life prematurely. Where Creon's ethical choices led him to eventually die completely alone as an old man, Antigone's choices led her to die alone and at an all too young age. Each of them had options outside of the set behavior he or she had chosen as his or her own. Had the stubbornness of both youth and old age not been in the way, things might have been different on either end. Anoiulh made it clear that there were other paths to take and that those paths might have led to other courses of events in life. Antigone thought she was maintaining her integrity by denying cooperation with those that would give way to compromises. Creon believed that his integrity was spared because he saved the kingdom from its own chaos when he assumed the throne. Jean Anouilh used the extremes of both characters to comment on the choices one can make to maintain one's integrity and innocence in the face of compromise and corruption. Anoiulh also made it clear that he understood the value of making the one true compromise of life - choosing to accept responsibility when necessary, while keeping the childlike stirrings of youth. It is only in this manner that one can maintain one's true integrity at any age. ...read more.

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