Why is Antigone in trouble? Why does Creon believe that the gods are on his side? What was the belief of the Greeks concerning death?
What was the common punishment for those who broke the law of thebes?
Why was it important to bury the dead?
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The Greeks actually had an elaborate funeral ritual. They believed that the shade (or soul) of the person left the body at the moment of death, but could not go to the underworld, Hades, until the body was properly cared for and buried. It was usually the job of the nearest female relatives to prepare the body for burial so it should have been the job of Antigone and Ismene. This fact makes it even more understandable that Antigone would risk all to bury her brother.
Creon believes the God's are on his side because he believes that Polynieces was wrong. It is not really Creon that Polynieces fought against; it was Antigone's other brother, Etocles. Etocles and Polyneices were supposed to share the rule of Thebes after Oedipus, and had agreed to alternate power on a yearly basis, but when the year of Etolces was up, he refused to give over to Polyneices. Polyneices then got an army from his father-in-law (from another city) and attacked Thebes to gain power from his brother. Both brothers were killed in the battle and Creon inherited the throne. Creon feels that Polynieces was wrong to bring an army against Thebes even if he had a rightful grievance. It was a question of loyalty to one's city over one's family in his eyes. Antigone disagrees.
Antigone is in trouble because she has buried the body of her brother, Polyneices. Creon had ordered that this not be done because he was a rebel, trying to overthrow Creon as king. Creon believes the gods are on his side primarily due to his arrogance and hubris. The Greeks believed that an unburied body was doomed to eternal unrest. Antigone loved her brother and did not want this fate for him, so she risked her life to make sure Polyneices was given a proper burial.
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Antigone tried standing up for what is right, burrying her brother who she loved. Even knowing she was going to face death by Creon..
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