Justice in a Play Antigone Analytical Essay

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What is “justice”? What does justice mean? During the powerful play of antigone, justice is a focal point that makes this play so emotional, and is the cause of conflict. Throughout this play, a series of dynamic characters are introduced. The main characters include Creon, Antigone, Eurydice, Ismene, Polyneices and Eteocles. The play is set in the city of Thebes and focuses on Antigone’s devotion to what she believes in, and her search for justice for her brother, Polyneices.

Antigone has to deal with the new ruler of the land, Creon. Creon is a greedy character that believes in his own right to pass cruel and selfish acts. As he spreads his extreme demands, he earns the wrath of the gods. Antigone has strong beliefs about keeping her passed family members at peace. Antigone, wishes for Ismene to help her bury her brother, disobeying the new ruler, Creon, who declared anyone that attempts to give Polyneices funeral rights to be stoned. Ismene, terrified of this act, denies her sisters cry for help and tries to talk her out of it, but fails terribly.

Antigones’ Characters Motivation

Hamon, Creon’s son and Antigone’s fiance, now enters the scene when Antigone expresses her doubts of marrying him, following the cruelty displayed by his father. Hamon is unsatisfied with the outcome and departs the scene. This is when Ismene re-enters the scene, and discovers that antigone plans on burying him in broad daylight making it easier for her to get caught. Ismene is not impressed with this idea. But what she doesnt know is that Antigone had already buried Polyneices.

Creon bursts with rage when he hears news about Polyneices being buried, and demands the person to be found. When Creon’s guards find Antigone and bring her to him, he is shaken by the fact that a girl had buried Polyneices, not a man. When confronted about the situation, Antigone admits to her actions without shame. She is confident in her decision and does not back down. She courageously expresses the immortality of the act and justifies her actions against it.

Though Creon is filled with rage, he understands that Antigone is valuable to the order of Thebes, as her marriage to Hamon, carries more stability and peace than her death. Antigone explains that she would rather die than see Polyneices unburied and left as food for the vultures and that she would only return to what she believes in doing.

Creon comes to the decision of sparing Ismene, and imprisoning Antigone inside a cave where she will be starved to death. Antigone shows no resistance or fear. Later on in the story, the chorus advises Creon to release Antigone and give her brother a proper burial. He finally regains his senses and agrees to do so. But Creon was far too late when the chorus reveals that Antigone had in fact taken her own life. Creon heads to the cave he had put antigone in and had seen that Hamon was in grief. He is enraged at the sight of Creon, blames him for all his misery and attempts to stab his father. He fails. And as his temper rises, he turns the sword to himself and is killed by his own hands. Creon enters the palace carrying his deceased son when he is informed that Eurydice could not bear the death of her son and had also killed herself. Creon is now broken and blames everything on himself and finally acknowledges his misdeeds.

Justice for Polyneices

Throughout the play, justice for Polyneices was Antigone’s only goal. The “justice” in this story could be considered “injustice” in today’s society, since people demand fair trials and just laws, neither of which are shown in antigone under Creon’s rules. This lack of justice makes a need for a character like antigone, someone who constantly is searching for some form of justice, and is eager to follow her beliefs no matter how terrifying or dangerous the end result may be. Antigone believes that doing what she feels is right by a higher authority than Creon.

Antigone demonstrates this action when she is talking to her sister Ismene, and says “I know I please, where I must please the most.” on page 64, line 103. This shows, Antigone believes that burying her brother is the higher form of justice than the law made by creon. Antigone has acted first to satisfy her own sense of justice. Antigone knows she will lose her life as a result of not following Creon’s law, but she is content to know that she will die having lived up to her moral code, as she tells Ismene “I will suffer nothing as great as death without glory.” on page 64, line 112-113.

As a result of Antigone’s extreme actions, she is sentenced to be locked in a cave until she starves to death. Due to Antigone’s strong beliefs, she does not show mercy. This is because she does not regret what she did, and she did it, knowing she would have to suffer. An example of her bravery is when, she explains, “I did it. And I don’t deny a thing.” on page 81, line 492. Antigone accepted the consequences before she made the act of burying polyneices. Creon also felt wronged by Antigone since she knowingly went against his orders.


Like Antigone, Creon also had reasons to be upset since he as well was related to Polyneices. Although, creon felt as though he did justice by not burying Polyneices. But when the news about Polyneices being buried spread around, Creon now wanted justice on whoever had buried him, which is why originally the death sentence was a stoning, but when Creon finds out Antigone is the one who commited the crime, he changes the punishment.


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Justice in a Play Antigone Analytical Essay. (2020, Sep 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/justice-in-a-play-antigone/

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