The Role of Fate in Sophocles’ Antigone Essay

The ancient Greeks steadfastly believed that destiny ruled their lives. The Gods. they believed. cognize the destiny of each and every one of them. Their fate was decided at birth. This doctrine became the driving force in Grecian calamities.

The three Theban dramas of Sophocles affecting Oedipus and his household reflect this belief with tragic results in each case. Yet fate plays a much different function in the drama Antigone than it does in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. Oedipus was warned by the Gods every bit good as by Prophetss. He lived his life in expectancy of his destiny.

whereas Antigone seems to move as the maestro of her ain destiny.Both end up tragically with fate playing a leading function ; but in Antigone there are other niceties of destiny that drive the secret plan. The Role of Fate in Sophocles’ Antigone Modern adult male is a animal of his free will. Someone who commits a offense such as slaying does so of his ain free will. If a individual being tried for slaying were to reason that it was fate – that he was destined to kill. this statement would non transport much weight with a jury.

This construct of man’s free will is something that was non a portion of ancient Grecian doctrine. The Gods ruled the lives of the Greeks and. they believed. directed their destiny.

The Greeks had three Gods of destiny – the Moirai – who were believed to “spin the togss of a human destiny” ( Fate. 2008 ) . Their names personified their intents – Clotho ( Spinner ) was the goddess who wove the destiny of each individual ; Lachesis ( Allotter ) was the 1 who dispensed the destiny ; and Atropos ( Inflexible ) decided when the yarn of destiny would be cut ( the minute of a person’s decease ) ( Fate. 2008 ) . They besides believed in prophets or visionaries who predicted their destiny. Although these prognostications were frequently misunderstood. the Greeks took them to bosom.

populating their lives harmonizing to what they determined ( justly or wrongly ) was their destiny.They were animals of the Gods and this doctrine pervaded their lives. They lived their lives prosecuting cognition of their destiny. a hard undertaking sing that the Gods and the prophets gave them merely an imprecise piece of their narrative. The Grecian God Zeus.

they believed. could salvage them from destiny if he wished. But more frequently than non.

Zeus took no function in the destiny of each individual. The Greeks’ perceptual experience of the function of destiny in their lives was frequently the topic of Grecian play. Aeschylus portrays his characters as driven by the actions of the Gods.Euripides’ characters were ordinary Greeks portrayed as they were. But Sophocles created characters who were “governed in their destiny more by their ain mistakes than by the actions of the gods” ( Sophocles. 2007 ) . This is peculiarly true in his drama Antigone. where the rubric character is driven by her sense of household as opposed to her obeisance to the jurisprudence.

She defies the order of her uncle. Creon. who became the swayer of Thebes upon the decease of her brother Eteocles by the manus of her other brother Polyneices. Creon orders that Polyneices. as a treasonist to Thebes. should lie unburied ( Sophocles. 1996 ) .Antigone defies his order and spreads funeral oil and Earth over her brother’s organic structure.

She is determined to bury her brother. no affair what the effects. She is confident that she is right and she does non sheer from her end. Harmonizing to Lines in her essay Antigone’s Flaws.

the defect of hubris in Antigone is overlooked because she appears to be making the right thing – obeying the jurisprudence of the Gods over the jurisprudence of a mere person ( Lines. 1999 ) but it is her ain continuity and possible ill-placed pride in what she is making that leads to her ultimate decease. It is non the prophesy of a visionary that determines her destiny.In consequence. she is the maestro of her ain destiny. unlike her male parent whose destiny was determined by the Gods and the prognostications of the prophets early in his life.

Both Oedipus. Antigone’s male parent. and Antigone herself experience the tragic effects of their actions. but Antigone. even if her fate were spun by the Moirai. had chances to change her destiny ; Oedipus. by the clip he realized how his life had been predetermined. truly had no pick in the affair.

To turn out her point. Line cites the chorus in Antigone who say that Antigone is “a jurisprudence unto herself” ( Lines. 1999 ) .Her destiny. therefore.

is froward. She is drawn to her destiny by her “self-certainty or. possibly even better. self-righteousness. . . a signifier of hubris” ( Lines. 1999 ) .

Her place is reinforced in an essay by Leach in which she says “That ‘a man’s character is his destiny’ . as Heraclitus says. is a rule clearly recognized so by the Grecian drama” ( Leach. 1917.

139 ) . The doctrine of destiny and fate in ancient Greece was indispensable to the tragic dramas of work forces like Sophocles. but it did non ever play the same function in every play.There are those characters that are destined to carry through the cloth of destiny woven for them by the Moirai at birth. And there are others whose defects seal their destiny – a destiny that might otherwise be avoided. Antigone falls into the latter class. her unruliness and righteousness taking to a tragic terminal non merely for her.

but besides for her lover Haemon and his female parent Eurydice.Mentions Fate. ( 2008 ) . In Encyclop? Defense Intelligence Agency Britannica. Retrieved November 11. 2008.

from Encyclop? Defense Intelligence Agency Britannica Online hypertext transfer protocol: //www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/202442/Fate Leach. Abby. ( 1917 ) .

Fate and free will in Grecian literature. The Grecian Genius and Its Influence: Select Essays and Extracts. Lane Cooper ed. ) . New Haven.

Connecticut: Yale University Press. 1917. Lines.

Patricia M. ( 1999 ) . Antigone’s defect. Humanitas. 12. 4. Retrieved November 11. 2008 from Questia.

com database. Sophocles. ( 2007 ) . In The Columbia Encyclopedia ( 6th ed. ) . Retrieved November 11. 2008. from Questia.

com database. Sophocles. ( 1996 ) . The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles. ( Paul Roche. Trans.

) . New York: Meridian.


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