How does the theme "Death is inevitable" tie in with Antigone?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would think that the inevitability of death is present in the Sophocles drama when one decides to wed their life to an idea.  Death is a reality for Antigone when she realizes that her commitment to her family's honor is something that transcends Creon's law.  Death becomes an inevitable end when she is willing to challenge this precept. Antigone embraces death because she believes that a life without ideals is one not worth living.  The scorn with which she treats Ismene is an example of this.  Representative of the traditionalized woman, Ismene pleads for her sister to reconsider and even to stand in her punishment.  Yet, Antigone rebukes her and repudiates this because Ismene fails to embrace any elevated notion of the good.  Antigone represents the inevitability of death because she is committed to something more than herself.  On some level, this makes death inevitable because one dedicates themselves to something more than themselves, more than life, believing that a cause is worthy enough for the sacrifice of one life.  In this, Antigone represents the idea of death as inevitable because through her actions, she believes that the idea of her family honor will live on even when she does not.


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