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Examining Antigone and Kreon: Who Deserves More Sympathy?


Antigone and Kreon are two useful characters who play center stage in the play Antigone. A critical observation of the two characters introduces the illusion of the flipside of a coin. This aspect is true based on the analysis of the different character traits between Antigone and Kreon. Specifically, these personalities differ in their actions, but their goals are similar. The routes either seek to achieve their goals regardless of the challenges they encounter in the process. Judging by their vision and goals, Antigone and Kreon present a dilemma for the onlookers and every other person interested in their story. Thus, this paper seeks to show that Kreon deserves more sympathy than Antigone, given his decisions and actions based on his desire for a better and stable Thebes.


Thebes’ stability and its people’s well-being are a priority for Kreon the King (Blondell). His decisions and actions are tailored to achieve this aspect. Kreon decrees that no one among the people living in Thebes should mourn or bury Polynices. This decree deters anyone, even Polynices, from going against the king. Kreon takes this tough path with good intentions to uphold the kingdom’s stability and guarantee his people’s well-being. However, Antigone feels obliged to bury her brother as part of the family’s responsibility toward their dead kin. This decision presents an idea of selfishness from Antigone, who seeks to achieve her desires by ignoring the law set by the king. Despite the family responsibility, Antigone gets it wrong by breaking the law established by Kreon, the king of Thebes. The situation presents a state where the king has to weigh between ending the disobedience among the kingdom’s residents and upholding the same disobedience. His decision is lawful before any other judge. However, the need for the family’s respect the death overshadows this situation. This situation creates uncertainty among the onlookers who consider Kreon mistaken in his actions. Hence, Kreon deserves more sympathy based on his objectives than Antigone deserves.

Antigone is a stubborn character in the play (Blondell). Ideally, the story presents errors that previous human characters, including Antigone’s father and brothers, made. For instance, Polynices banished his father when he became blind. He later demanded that he reclaims his rightful throne as the rightful heir. His father’s anger led to a curse that Polynices would die in the arms of his brother Eteocles. True to his curse, Polynices and Eteocles died in a confrontation that presents Polynices as a traitor to the kingdom of Thebes. The death of these two sons of Oedipus forces Kreon to take over leadership of Thebes. Hence, to restore order, he offers a dignified burial to Eteocles and decrees death for anyone that mourns Polynices. Antigone feels the need to bury her brother against the king’s decree. Her sister Ismene tries to convince her against the decision considering the death penalty declared by the king. Her stubbornness leads her to disobey the king’s decree. Antigone suffers the consequences of her father’s and brothers’ actions. These actions victimize Kreon since he appears as the bully despite his desire to erase the undoing of Polynices. Hence, these observations prove that Kreon deserves sympathy compared to Antigone.

Despite Kreon ordering that Antigone gets buried alive, it is justifiable to sympathize with him rather than with Antigone. Kreon’s goal is to punish any traitor and honor patriots (Blondell). Like the observations in the section above, Kreon’s objective is to create a stable and safe kingdom. These objectives are honorable and just based on reason. Such goals require courageous individual who does not hold back their decision. Antigone’s courage also motivates her to give her brother an honorable burial. This amount of courage lands her in trouble since she suffers the consequences of disrespecting the king. Although Antigone’s actions are justified, it does not depict respect for authority. Also, Kreon’s decree goes against the wishes of the gods. Indeed, this idea compels him to retract his order that allows for the killing of Antigone. However, his move is untimely since Antigone committed suicide. The gods punish him for blocking the burial of the dead. He also suffers the repercussions of Antigone’s death. Thus, these observations show that despite Kreon’s justifiable aspiration for a stable and safe kingdom in Thebes, his actions went against the gods, who later punished him. Hence, it is prudent to sympathize with Kreon since his motives were justifiable.


In conclusion, Antigone and Kreon are admirable characters with great personalities that guide their actions. Indeed, Antigone needs to bury her kin, Polynices, whom Kreon considers a traitor and wants to punish him for treason. However, the need for a stable and safe kingdom for the residents of Thebes is justified. The objectives and actions undertaken by these two characters, Antigone and Kreon, reflect the challenges people face in their quest for a better living. Hence, it is worth calculating every action’s outcome before setting it into action.

Works Cited

Blondell, Ruby. Sophocles’ Antigone. Focus Pub R Pullins & Company, 1998.


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