Antigone Book Center
Topic: Do you agree with writer and historian Robert Flaceliére in believing that Antigone is more stubborn then Creon?
I agree with writer and historian Robert Flaceliére in believing that Antigone is more stubborn then Creon. Antigone will not see herself as wrong, no matter what happens. She is determined to believe that Creon has no power to overrule the will of the gods and deny proper burial. She maintains a narrow view, unwilling to change her beliefs and not noticing that her brother was attacking her city. Creon, meanwhile, was not giving proper burial to the man that killed his citizens. Although Creon’s duty was to uphold the law and order of Thebes, Creon was not as stubborn as Antigone; he changed his mind in the end. However, Antigone kept her obstinate opinions to the end, and was willing to die for, rather then change her stubborn beliefs.
Antigone never sees herself or her actions as wrong. She admitted to burying her brother, even though she knew the consequences. When she was asked by Creon if she knowingly broke the law, she replied, "Yes, for it was not Zeus that had published that edict; not such are the laws set among men by the Justice who dwells with the gods below" (Ant. 127). She believes that Creon does not have the power to make a law that goes against the wishes of the gods and not allow a proper burial. She keeps this belief obdurately to her death, not willing to change her mind or her beliefs.
She goes on to say that, "Not through dread of any human pride could I answer to the gods for breaking these [laws]. Die I must; that I know well (how should I not?) even without you edicts. But if I am to die before my time, I would count that as a great gain. If anyone lives as I do compassed about with evils, could he find anything but gain in death?" (Ant. 127). She was willing to die in order to do what she believed was right. She felt that she was better off dying with her inflexible beliefs, then to remain living because she knew she would die eventually anyways. She believed and thought to herself that her ideas and her beliefs about death and honoring the dead were correct. Nothing that anyone said made any difference to her. Even her own sister’s persuasion in the beginning of the play could not stop her. She just could not stand Creon prohibiting the burial of her brother and his going against the laws of religion. She was very stubborn and had her mind made up way ahead of time. She willfully believed that Creon had no power to change the wills of the gods.
Antigone maintained a narrow point of view with her beliefs throughout her life. She was only willing to see her brother as her brother. She would not even begin to recognize that her brother attacked her city and killed many of her fellow townsfolk. She was not at all willing to change her belief that Creon did not have the power to go against the rules of heaven. She was very inflexible with her point of views.
Creon, on the other hand, was not as stubborn as Antigone. He changed his mind towards the end of the play. "Ah me, it is hard, but I resign my cherished resolve; I obey [to the choruses’ counsel to free Antigone]" (Ant. 142). He is willing to see that he made a mistake and then goes personally to right his mistake. In the beginning of the play, Creon made the edict not to bury the attacker of Thebes. He made this edict because he did not want to honor the man who attacked his city and killed many of his people. Creon had been entrusted to uphold the laws, the honor, and protect the people of the city of Thebes. "A foe in never a friend, even in death," he says (Ant 129). This represents Creon’s belief that he will not do anything to honor or show respect for an enemy, even after they died. He must be firm in this belief and in all of the laws he makes in order to protect peacefulness and tranquility in the city.
Creon’s law was just but, Antigone on the other hand, does not see it this way. She mulishly hangs on to her beliefs and believes that she is correct to the end. She has a very narrow point of view about her brother, and is unwilling to see him as someone who attacked the city of Thebes. Creon, however, is not that stubborn. He admitted he was wrong and then changed his mind about Antigone and his edict. Also, Creon must be firm in upholding the laws of the city. This is why I agree with writer and historian Robert Flaceliére in believing that Antigone is more stubborn then Creon in this ancient play by Sophocles.
Sophocles. "Antigone." Trans. Sir Richard Claverhouse Jebb. Ed. Moses Hadas. The Complete Plays of Sophocles. New York: Bantam, 1967. 115-147.