During the play the audience sees these two characters’ attitudeschange from close minded to open-minded. It is their close minded, stubbornattitudes, which lead to their decline in the play, and ultimately to a seriesof deaths. In the beginning Antigone is a close minded character who laterbecomes open minded. After the death of her brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices,Creon becomes the ruler of Thebes.
He decides that Eteocles will receive afuneral with military honors because he fought for his country. However,Polyneices, who broke his exile to ” spill the blood of his father and sellhis own people into slavery”, will have no burial. Antigone disagrees withCreon’s unjust actions and says, ” Creon is not strong enough to stand in myway. ” She vows to bury her brother so that his soul may gain the peace of theunderworld.
Antigone is torn between the law placed against burying her brotherand her own thoughts of doing what she feels should be done for her family. Herintent is simply to give her brother, Polyneices, a proper burial so that shewill follow “the laws of the gods. ” Antigone knows that she is in danger ofbeing killed for her actions and she says, “I say that this crime is holy: Ishall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as he to me. “Her own laws, or morals, drive her to break Creon’s law placed againstPolyneices burial. Even after she realizes that she will have to bury Polyneiceswithout the help of her sister, Ismene, she says: Go away, Ismene: I shall behating you soon, and the dead will too, For your words are hateful. Leave me myfoolish plan: I am not afraid of the danger; if it means death, It will not bethe worst of deaths-death without honor.
Here Ismene is trying to reason withAntigone by saying that she cannot disobey the law because of the consequences. Antigone is close-minded when she immediately tells her to go away and refusesto listen to her. Later in the play, Antigone is sorrowful for her actions andthe consequences yet she is not regretful for her crime. She says her crime isjust, yet she does regret being forced to commit it. Antigone now has theability to consider her consequences because her action of burying her brotheris complete.
She knows her crime is justified, but her new open-mindedness leadsher to consider the alternative. Even though she knows she will die with honorshe is grieving for the way she was forced to commit a crime to take an actionshe believes is justifiable. This is seem when Antigone says: Soon I shall bewith my own again . . . To me, since it was my hand That washed him clean andpoured the ritual wine: And my reward is death before my time! And yet, asmen’s hearts knows, I have done no wrong, I have not sinned before God.
Or ifI have, I shall know the truth in death. But if the guilt Lies upon Creon whojudged me, then, I pray, May his punishment equal my own. Antigone’s statementshows open-mindedness because she says she does not believe she has sinned butif she has she will know in death. Before Antigone believed that her actionswere not sinful, but how she shows an open mind. She is also saying if it isCreon’s fault that she will die then may he die also for sending her unjustlyto her death.
Antigone says: Thebes, and you my father’s gods, And rulers ofThebes, you see me now, the last Unhappy daughter of a line of kings, Yourkings, led away to death. You will remember What things I suffer, and at whatmen’s hands Because I would not transgress the laws of heaven Come: let uswait no longer. She comes from a long line of kings that were fated to diebecause of a curse placed on them. She willingly leaves to die knowing that itis an honorable death. Antigone hangs herself, in the tomb she was placed in byCreon, using a noose of her fine linen veil.
Creon, Antigone’s uncle,experiences a change of close-mindedness to open-mindedness with his actionsthroughout the play. Creon’s close-minded attitude can be seen when he says:This is my command, and you can see the wisdom behind it. As long as I am king,no traitor is going to be honored with The loyal man. But whoever shows by wordand deed that he Is on the side of the state, he shall have my respect while Heis living, and my reverence when he is dead.
Creon is saying that as long as heis king that this is the way it will be, and you can see wisdom behind it. Unfortunately he is convinced that this is the right way to rule, and it is thisattitude that leads to Creon’s decline. When Choragos tries to explain whyPolyneices is now buried Creon says: Stop! Must you doddering wrecks Go our ofyour heads entirely? “The gods!” Intolerable! . . . Is it your senileopinion that the gods love to honor bad men? A pious thought! Creon does notaccept that a higher being could possibly judge Polyneices differently then hehas.
This example of close-mindedness shows that Creon compares his views withthose of Greek gods. After learning that Antigone is the person who defied hislaw he says: She has much to learn. The inflexible heart breaks first, thetoughest iron Cracks first, and the wildest horses bend their necks At the pullof the smallest curb. This is ironic because he is saying she has an inflexibleheart when in fact he is the one who is stubborn or inflexible.
When asked byhis niece what he wants more than her death he says, “Nothing. That gives meeverything. ” The audience gets a continuous look at Creon’s close-mindedattitude. When he says Antigone’s death gives him everything he meanseverything in a positive sense. In actuality her death brings him everythingnegative.
This is how his close-minded, stubborn attitude leads to his decline. As a result of his inflexibility, he loses Antigone, Haimon, and Eurydice. Afterthe loss of his niece, son and wife, Creon’s change is sudden. While talkingto Choragos, he tells Creon to, “Go quickly: free Antigone from her vault andbuild a tomb for the body of Polyneices. ” Creon’s response is contrary tohis earlier stubbornness, “It is hard to deny the heart! But I will do it: Iwill not fight with destiny.
” Creon is now becoming open-minded. He says thathe will no longer fight destiny and this shows that he was not right to punishAntigone in the first place. Another example of Creon’s change is shown whenthe Messenger says: Take the case of Creon: Creon was happy once, as I counthappiness: Victorious in battle, soul governor of the land, Fortunate father ofchildren nobly born. And now it is all gone from him. This illustrates Creon’sdecline due to his stubborn, inflexible attitude.
He has lost all of hishappiness, explained by the Messenger, leading towards his decline because ofhis stubborn personality. The Messenger says, “Haimon is dead; and the handthat killed him is his own hand. ” Choragos’ response is, “His father’s?or his own?” The Messenger replies, “His own, driven mad by the murder hisfather had done. ” Haimon’s suicide is being placed on Creon’s stubbornmurdering. He also admits to this later when he says, “I have killed my sonand my wife.
” Choragos attempts to explain Creon’s newfound open mind whenhe says: There is no happiness where there is no wisdom; No wisdom but insubmission to the gods. Big words are always punished, And proud men in old agelearn to be wise. This statement illustrates that Creon’s “big words” arepunished by the deaths of his niece, son and wife. Creon learns to be wise or tobecome more open-minded after he is too late to stop the deaths in his family. Creon was a proud man, but with time and consequences he learned to be wise.
Antigone is a tragedy that involves the changing attitudes of two characters. Itis through the changes made by Antigone and Creon from close-minded toopen-minded characters that the play becomes a tragedy. With Creon’s stubbornlaws and Antigone’s stubborn opinion in the beginning of the play, the tragedymay take place.