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Indirect characterization is the use of dialogue, actions, or appearance to reveal character. In Antigone, by Sophocles, the character of Antigone is revealed primarily through her dialogue and her actions.
The primary indicator of who Antigone is in this play (her character) is her belief that her brother Polynices deserves a proper burial. She believes this despite the king's edict and despite the fact that Polynices was considered a traitor to his country. She proves this belief with her words as well as her actions.
In a conversation with her sister, Ismene, Antigone expresses her intention to disobey Creon and bury their brother. Ismene, as we know, is too afraid of what might happen to them if they disobey the kings' order and tries to dissuade Antigone from this plan. Antigone replies:
If that is what you think, then I should not want you, even if you asked to come. You have made your choice; you can be what you want to be. But I will bury him, and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy. I shall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as he to me. It is the dead, not the living, who make the
greatest demands: we die forever.
Clearly Ismene believes that human law outweighs natural law, and Atigone believes just the opposite, that the law of human decency (natural law) is higher than any law man creates.
Antigone says this many times in the play, such as in her reply to Ismene, and she even boldly says it to her uncle-king, Creon. Antigone's actions also say that she is willing to die for doing what she thinks is right. She does just what she said she would do, and she gives Polynices the burial she believes every human being deserves.
So, both in word and deed, Antigone displays her character as a woman who is willing to die (indeed, she does die) for a cause she thinks is just.
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