What are some examples of consequence and choice in Sophocles's Antigone?

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Creon chooses to allow Polyneices' body to rot in the streets instead of having it buried according to the traditional religious rites. Polyneices was one of the so-called "Seven against Thebes," a group of men who spearheaded an Argive invasion of Thebes. As far as Creon's concerned, Polyneices is a...

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Creon chooses to allow Polyneices' body to rot in the streets instead of having it buried according to the traditional religious rites. Polyneices was one of the so-called "Seven against Thebes," a group of men who spearheaded an Argive invasion of Thebes. As far as Creon's concerned, Polyneices is a traitor, and the treatment of his corpse must reflect this. Unfortunately for Creon, his choice has fatal consequences for himself and his family. His stubborn defiance of the gods and his inability to listen to reason or take Tiresias's prophecies seriously result in the tragic suicides of his son, Haemon, and his wife, Eurydice.

Antigone's equally stubborn defiance of Creon also has tragic consequences. In attempting to bury her late brother's body, she believes that she's implementing the will of the gods. But in Thebes, Creon's word is law, and if anyone should go against his express orders, then they are almost certain to be executed. Nevertheless, Creon is sufficiently cautious not to have Antigone killed directly; he walls her up in a cave, which will become her living tomb. Although Antigone hangs herself, there's no doubt that her death is a direct consequence of Creon's bad choices as well as her own stubborn defiance.

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In Sophocles' Antigone, the various characters in the play have to deal with the consequences of their choices.

Early in the play, Antigone and her sister Ismene discuss whether they should violate Creon's decree that anyone who performs burial rites for Polyneices should be put to death. Ismene chooses to follow the decree set forth by a human king, whereas Antigone chooses to follow laws she believes have been established by the gods themselves (i.e., that everyone deserves a proper burial).                                        

                                      My honours for the dead

 must last much longer than for those up here.

(Ian Johnston translation)

The consequences of the two sisters choices result in the death of one (Antigone), while the other (Ismene) survives, but in some respects Ismene ends up like Creon. At the end of the play, Ismene remains alive, but death has covered over all her loved ones: Antigone, Eteocles, Polyneices, Oedipus, and Jocasta.

The pair of sisters is matched by the pair of father and son (Creon and Haemon) and the choices that they make. Creon chooses not to alter his death sentence for Antigone until it is too late. Haemon chooses to oppose his father in arguing against Antigone's sentence. Haemon's anger at his father ultimately leads him to try to kill him; but, when Haemon fails in this effort, he turns the blade upon himself. 

Creon ultimately makes the right choice (to reverse his sentence against Antigone), but he makes this choice too late and suffers the consequences: Antigone hangs herself and both Haemon and his mother kill themselves. Thus, at the play's conclusion, Creon's choices have left him in utter ruin:

 Then take this foolish man away from here.

 I killed you, my son, without intending to,

 and you, as well, my wife. How useless I am now.

 (Ian Johnston translation)


 

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