Antigone, written by Sophocles, is a tragedy that follows Antigone as she struggles with her family loyalty and the values of society: Antigone wants to honor and obey the laws of God and of The play begins in Thebes where Antigone is surrounded by her extended family. Antigones’ father, Oedipus, is a man who had been cursed by the gods and left to wander the earth with Antigone’s mother, Jocasta. Antigones’ brother Ismene accompanies Antigone in her defiance of Creon, Thebe’s new king. Antigones’ other brothers include Eteocles, Polynices and little boy Haemon.
In this play, Sophocles shows Antigone’s love for the family through the compassion she has for her dead brother and her actions after his burial: “What I could do at least is make sure he never goes unburied and without due honor,” (Sophocles Antigone). Antigones’ loyalty to family is displayed in this quote as Antigone sees after the burial of her brother even though she is unable to give him a proper funeral because Antigones’ uncle, Creon, had forbidden it. Antigone’s love for family and for her dead brother causes Antigone to go against Creon and commit treason: “I’d rather die than live with this injustice,” (Sophocles Antigone).
Antigones’ family loyalty leads her to begin burying Polynices without permission. Antigones’ ultimate punishment is death by being buried alive in the tomb where Antigones’ mother-in-law, Eurydice, was previously buried: “Creon has ordered that if anyone defies his ruling about the banishment of the dead, Antigone must be taken to the tomb and there entombed alive,” (Sophocles Antigone). Antigones’ family loyalty leads her to disobey Creon’s orders and Antigones’ courage is displayed in that Antigone was not afraid of death.
Antigone’s love for family causes Antigone to suffer a worse punishment than her brother Polynices who tried to overthrow Thebes: “And if I am right-if my claim on you is justified-I have come out of this world better off than he did,” (Sophocles Antigone). In this quote Antigones defends herself by showing that she suffered a worse fate than Polynices because Antigones was buried alive, Antigone felt that she had suffered a worse fate than her brother because Antigones did nothing wrong and still received the worst punishment.
Antigones’ family loyalty leads her to follow God’s laws and not Creon’s: “So I left the dead unburied,” Antigones explains in this quote showing that Antigone is following God’s law by burying Polynices without permission. Antigone’s family loyalty to Polynices caused Antiongpe’s death which led Creons’ to exile himself from Thebes: “Creon took his own life,” (Sophocles Antigone).
These different relationships and the decisions made show that Antigone does not think that one side is necessarily better than the other, but instead presents many points to consider in such a situation. Antigone begins with Antigone’s defiance of Creon’s order to leave her brother Polynices unburied because he had started a war against his own people and died during the battle. Antigone believes it is her duty as a sister to bury her brother even if she is going against Creon’s edict, while Ismene agrees with Antigone but ultimately decides to stay out of it because she fears for Antigone’s safety.
In Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa lives with his parents and loves them as any good son would do. Gregor does not say it in so many words, but he shows through the few interactions we see with him and his family that he is a devoted son. He is unhappy at work and hears of financial troubles, yet continues to work hard and try to improve things for himself and his family even though he has no need or obligation to.
When it comes time for Antigone’s father Oedipus to die, Antigone makes the choice of going against Creon’s command by burying her dead brother Polynices herself rather than leaving him on display as a reminder to all Thebans of their king who broke the law. Antigone goes against the law and brings a body out of the city, showing Antigone’s devotion to Polynices even though she knows what will happen to her for going against Creon. Antigone has obedience to Creon as king, but deep down Antigone is loyal to her family above all else.
In Metamorphosis, Gregor’s mother tries to get rid of him because he is no longer able to work, which shows that his parents do not value their son. The family does not go visit him in the hospital when they know that Gregor is sick; they act like he doesn’t exist. This lack of family loyalty is another thing that sets apart Antigone from Metamorphosis. Antigone is ultimately loyal to her family, no matter the consequences, while Gregor’s family fails to display any sort of familial loyalty towards him even when he needs it most.
Antigone’s loyalty to her brother is strong and she follows through with burying him, whilst Antigone’s familial loyalty is nonexistent towards Ismene. Antigone chooses to support the stronger side of family loyalty represented by Polynices whereas Kreon represents family loyalty as an obligation, Antigone shows this in the way she goes against the king’s law without fear for herself.
Antigone feels most strongly about familial bonds because she has no other form of social bond or identity within Thebes; Ismene effectively leaves Antigone when Antigone refuses to denounce burying Polynices, Creon similarly strips Antigone of her identity after declaring her a traitor. Antigone is ready to die for what she believes in, showing Antigone has a strong sense of duty to her family. Antigone doesn’t only feel the duty to bury Polynices over other responsibilities but also feels that she must do it
for him rather than any other member of their family. This shows Antigone’s belief that family loyalty supersedes all other social bonds and obligations. Kreon values familial loyalties as well, although he are much more limited. He obeys the law with restrictions on Antigone’s burial but when Antigone is caught doing so he shows no hesitation
in killing her; this lack of hesitation suggests Kreon disregards Antigone as having similar familial value to Ismene despite her actions against him for Polynices. Antigone’s value to Kreon extends only as far as Antigone obeying the law, Antigone is seen by him as a tool for him to use to get what he wants without any concern of her own well-being- this shows Kreon values Antigone based on Antigone fulfilling his wishes.
Antigone and Ismene are initially close; the bond between them seems strong, although Antigone asserts that she alone will bury Polynices when necessary. The two sisters even act together in burying their father despite neither having approval from anyone else; this shows how Antigone values family loyalty much more than anything else, including other social bonds like a sisterhood.