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How does Antigone exhibit bravery and courage in Sophocles' Antigone?

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Antigone and Creon are similar in their unwavering nature. Both characters' stubbornness leads to negative consequences for both of them.

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Antigone shows her bravery by defying the express orders of the Theban king Creon. Antigone's brother, Polyneices, participated in a plot against Thebes. In the ensuing civil war, he was killed, and as a traitor, his body was left to rot out in the open on Creon's orders. Creon expressly forbids Antigone, or anyone else, from burying Polyneices's corpse, on pain of death. But Antigone defies Creon; she answers to a higher law, the law of the gods. She knows that Creon's orders, though perfectly legal, represent an act of sacrilege against the gods. She may not fear Creon, but she certainly fears the gods, and so she must do right by them.

Antigone knows how stubborn and vengeful Creon is, how unlikely it is that he will relent, and how it is a near certainty that she will pay with her life for her disobedience. Yet she chooses to make a stand, to do what's right by her late brother and the immortals. This takes enormous courage, and it is such exemplary bravery that makes Antigone stand out as one of the great characters in the history of drama.

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Antigone is one of the bravest characters in all of Greek literature. She shows this in several ways.

First, we need to know a little of the context of what is taking place. Creon, the leader of Thebes, expressly forbids anyone to bury the body of Polynices, who just died in a battle to take over Thebes. Creon wants his body to rot and be eaten by animals as a punishment. I might add that this is one of the worst things that can be done in this society.

Second, within this context, Antigone decides to defy Creon and bury her brother, Polynices. She will risk her life. In the process, she gets caught, but she will not be deterred. This shows great courage. She is about to die on account of her actions, but even then she will not be deterred to follow what is right. Here is quote on her resolve:

"I didn't say yes. I can say no to anything I say vile, and I don't have to count the cost. But because you said yes, all that you can do, for all your crown and your trappings, and your guards—all that your can do is to have me killed."

We can see her courage even more when we look at the other characters. No one has the courage to do the right thing, that is, bury the body of Polynices.

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How do Antigone and Creon show courage?

Antigone and Creon are opposed to each other in Antigone, but they both show their courage in a similar way. These characters represent different sides of a political dispute. Antigone values family, heritage, and a commitment to the gods. Creon values the state, patriarchy, and power. (These values have overlaps, but the perspectives of these characters are at odds with one another.) Ultimately, despite their conflict, the tactics used by Antigone and Creon are similar: both characters are firm in their perspective and unwavering to outside opinions. This is how these two characters show their courage.

Haimon, the son of Creon and lover of Antigone, has a famous line that is applicable to this situation: 

In flood time you can see how some trees bend, / And because they bend, even their twigs are safe, / While stubborn trees are torn up, roots and all. (Scene III)

Antigone and Creon are both stubborn. Neither are willing to admit there are impracticalities in their reasonings. Both characters end up suffering, and this can be attributed to their stubbornness and unwillingness to compromise. 

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