In Antigone, how is the heroine Antigone characterized in the following section of the play: Chorus singing: strophe “Love, unconquered”—Teiresias: “Thou wilt learn”?

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In this section of the play, the characterization of Antigone comes principally from her final speech before she is led away to a grim death. She remains stubborn in her certainty that she has done the right thing and looks forward to being reunited with her family in death. She mentions her mother and father but then dwells on the thought of her brother Polyneices. At this point, she makes a rather surprising declaration:

Never, had I been a mother of children, or if a husband had been mouldering in death, would I have taken this task upon me in the city's despite.*

Antigone justifies this assertion that she would not have defied Creon for a husband or child if she had had either by saying that she could always have married or given birth again (though in practice she has done neither). However, once her brother is dead, he is irreplaceable. This is true, but it is also true that Antigone had another brother, who died fighting in the same battle, and whom she completely fails to mention here as a member of her family.

Although Antigone remains obdurate and courageous here, her characterization does change slightly. First, as noted above, her burial of Polyneices seems more personal; an act of love and reverence for a beloved brother rather than purely a matter of principle. Secondly, she does, at the last moment, show some concern for her own fate and even something approaching self-pity at the undeserved death which awaits her:

And what law of heaven have I transgressed? Why, hapless one, should I look to the gods any more,—what ally should I invoke,—when by piety I have earned the name of impious?

At the very last moment, Antigone, who has always been admirable in her courage but cold and unfeeling in her preference for the dead over the living, finally becomes a more humane and sympathetic figure.

* Quotations are from the Jebb translation.

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