Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, is a tragic heroine who shows great compassion for her brother, Polynices. Even though she knows that burying him will result in her own death, she does so anyway because she loves him and believes that he deserves a proper burial.
This act of love and compassion sets her apart from other characters in the play, who are more concerned with following the law than with showing mercy. It is this quality that makes Antigone a truly tragic figure, as her downfall is brought about by her own altruistic actions.
While Antigone may not be able to change the tragic events that have unfolded, she can choose how to react to them. In this way, she represents the best of what it means to be human – someone who is capable of great love and compassion, even in the face of adversity.
In Greek tragedy Antigone, Antigone’s devotion and compassion for her brother’s love result in her own physical destruction. She overcomes the harsh facts of what is to come with her self-prescribed ideas on why she is doing it. She dies a courageous death, knowing that she died for all of the correct reasons. Antigone is a tragic heroine who believes in loyalty to one’s family and doing what is right in one’s own eyes.
Her determination is unbreakable, even when she is warnings by her loved ones of the possible outcomes. When her sister tries to persuade Antigone to change her mind about burying Polyneices, she says “I will bury him; and if I must die, I die” (Sophocles 41). This showing how nothing will stop her from doing what she believes in, no matter the consequences that she may have to face. Her actions are out of love and compassion for her brother and she does not waver in her convictions.
When Creon finally catches Antigone after she has buried Polyneices, he gives her the choice between death or life. She chooses death because living would mean going against her beliefs. She would rather die than live a life where she is not true to herself. Antigone knows that she has done what is right and does not regret her actions, even though they led to her demise.
The compassion that Antigone feels for her brother drives her to make the ultimate sacrifice, which is her own life. She stands up for what she believes in, even when it goes against the grain. Her tragic death is a result of her heroic actions and she will be remembered as a heroine who died for love.
She believes she is doing what she needs to do in order to feel happy, and because she has a firm idea of what that entails, the nasty ideas from others have little influence on her decision to go through with it. When her sister Ismene and her bicker about whether or not she should continue with the work, she disregards Ismene’s advice because in her mind, she already has made up her mind and no one can persuade her otherwise.
“You can do nothing to help me. You understand nothing. You have no part in what I’m doing” (Sophocles, 68). This is how stubborn Antigone is, and she doesn’t allow anyone’s thoughts or opinions to bring her down from what she knows is right. Creon might be the King and have power over everyone, but that doesn’t bother Antigone because she knows what she did was for a good reason which was to give her brother a proper burial.
The most important thing to her is family, and she’ll do anything in her power to make sure they are happy even if it means making herself unhappy. When her sister Ismene tries to get her to think about her decision to bury her brother, she says,” I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy: I shall lie down with him in death and I shall be as loved as he” (Sophocles, 67). She would rather die than see her brother suffer because she loves him that much.
From the start of the play, it is seen how close Antigone and her brother were when she mentions how they used to play together when they were younger. Even though he was no longer alive she still wanted to give him the burial he deserved because to her he was still her brother and she loved him just as much as when he was alive.
“He is my brother by the same mother- but not the same father. I, Polyneices, am here unburied. So it is right that I should bury him” (Sophocles, 67). In her eyes, he was still her brother and she needed to give him a burial because that’s what family does.
The bond between siblings is a very special one, and Antigone shows us just how important that bond is. She puts her own life at risk to make sure her brother gets the burial he deserves because to her that’s what family is for.
In many situations, Antigone demonstrates how motivated she is. For example, in Scene 2, lines 57-60, she says “But I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy: I shall lie down With him in death, and I shall be as dear To him as he to me..” Obviously very determined to accomplish the goal that she has set out for herself. The decisions she makes sets a possible example for other citizens of the community to see it is okay stand up they believe in despite what society thinks isn’t right.
In the end, she did die for what she believed in, thus fulfilling her heroic role. Compassion is a big factor in Antigone. She shows great love and concern for her brother, Polynices. Even though he was exiled, she still speaks very highly of him. “My brother- dead / Who died improperly!” (Scene 1, lines 67-68). She is quick to avenge his death and does not think twice about whether or not she will get caught. When she is finally confronted by her uncle, Creon, she does not back down from her decision to bury Polynices.
“But if I am considered wicked And impious because I gave my brother burial..” (Scene 2, lines 72-74). She knows the consequences of her actions, but she is willing to accept them because she believes that what she is doing is right.
The compassion that Antigone has for her brother drives her to do things that others might deem as crazy or improper. In a way, her love for him makes her a hero because she is willing to risk everything for him, even her own life.