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My personal connection to Antigone is her disgust at a sister who is unwilling to take a stand with her. I cannot count the number of times I wanted friends (more than family) to stand with me and do the right thing at any cost. Though some have, most have not--or they've jumped on the bandwagon at the eleventh hour when it's too late. Really frustrating, and I feel Antigone's pain when she finally just disavows her sister.
Believing in a principle strongly enough that one is willing to risk death is the most admirable quality that one can possess. How many people are like this today in our society which is rife with situation ethics?
As an orthodox Jew, I have always related to the struggle in Antigone between religious law and civil law. Antigone buries her brother because the religious law requires her to do it; Creon is infuriated at her for doing this, because he, the king, has outlawed the burial of a traitor.
I have never had to face a conflict between my religion's laws and the laws of the U.S.A. as stark as the conflict that faced Antigone. Still, I live simultaneously in two systems of law, and in two cultures. I consider myself privileged to be a Jew and to be an American; still, I would be lying if I said that being both simultaneously can sometimes be a psychological strain.
I would think that a modern audience could best identify with Antigone's coming from a dysfunctional family. While, admittedly, none of us resulted (at least I would hope "none") from our father's marrying his mother, many of us can connect to sibling rivalry, family infighting, and loyalty. Antigone's two brothers die fighting one another--again, this is a dramatic version of rivalry--just as many modern families must deal with decades-old grudges and rifts and feel that they must choose sides. Similarly, many of us have had to choose between our moral values and rules/laws and must decide to what and to whom we will should remain loyal.
I find Antigone very admirable. She is standing up for what she knows is right and isn't deterred from her position. While Creon may make a good case for not burying Polyneices, it isn't a strong enough case to change the laws of the gods, and Antigone knows it. Her faith is stronger than the social/political/personal world she lives in.
I would think that a lot of people your age might be able to identify with the theme here of a conflict between a stubborn parent and a stubborn child. You have a father trying to do what he thinks is best and is right. You have a daughter who disagrees with him (and a son, Polyneices, who obviously went against his father's will). The daughter is defending her actions and the father is not accepting her explanations. This sounds like something that happens between parents and kids and between kids and other authority figures as well.
Antigone represents many traits that at some point in our lives we are required to summon, however difficult it may be.
In her battle to give her brother a proper burial, she had to summon her inner strength and courage to go against a male-dominated and violent rule, even under the threat of death.
She also lived through the disappointment of seeing her sister get away from her and not help her due to her own fears, and her situation also caused the rupture of Haemon and Creon (her fiance and his father respectively).
In the end, both Haemon and Antigone took their lives, making Creon realize how he alone was who caused the revolution that ended up in this tragedy.
As a tragedy, Antigone shows us the chain of events that go wrong when ambition and obsession with power takes over the wrong person.
As a character, Antigone is the embodiment of courage and strength, and a reminder that principle is stronger than ambition. That a person with a clear sense of principle, when wronged, can become unstoppable.
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