Part 1 (Answer three of
the first ten, plus question 11):
1. Using quotations from the literature to help you when possible, share your ideas about why cultures always create their (often radically different, often very similar) concepts of a supreme being(s), what we (usually) call God.
In ancient Greek history, the deities were often presented in various different ways in order of their weight. Simple involvements of the deities involve characters directly mentioning particular gods in speech. This often revealed the constant involvement of the gods throughout the events of the works. The gods played more important roles by several gods regularly appearing in the play and interacting with the mortals.
In “Antigone,” the contribution of the gods is open to many different interpretations, from constant involvement all the way down to indirect influence. In “Antigone” can be seen that direct appearance and involvement of the gods is inexistent. However, the effect of the main characters is largely influenced by the gods. Antigone is presented as a character who is clear of mind and who knows how precisely to serve the gods. She says, “I know I am pleasing those I should please most” (88).
When she finds that her brother has not been buried as required by the gods, she immediately goes to her sister to seek help in burying her brother. The sister is however reluctant as she knows the danger that accompanies such an action. Antigone however is unwavering as she says, “The time in which I must please those that are dead/ is much longer than I must please those of this world” (76-7).
There are many forms of gods, all widely varied with the cultures they represent. The powers are however related in the different cultures. All cultures seem to agree that gods are supernatural beings. These beings have the capability to perform deeds that beyond the capabilities of the mortals. The gods however differ in different ways. Some cultures practice monotheism and all supernatural powers are seen to belong to him. The history of the ancient Greek people has many gods. The most powerful gods in this culture are Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades.
2. For what are you willing to die? How is religious justification part of such a stand?
I am willing to die while protecting my family. I always feel that letting someone close to me die while I can lower their chances of death is wrong. This has nothing to do with my belief system. It is more like the lack of it. The fact that I put my life at risk shows how much I disregard my life according to Christian beliefs. Life should be firmly protected even unto the point of murder. Protecting others however gives us a bigger force against the enemy and there for a chance at winning the battle.
Another way to look at it is through the death of Christ in the Christian faith. The Christ died for all Christians. He being an example for all of us to follow, such a decision may follow. The Christians who immediately followed the death of the Christ went through such choices more often than we do.
3. What is the danger in behavior like Antigone and Creon?
Antigone and Creon overuse their belief systems. Both end up risking and even taking the lives of others in the process of fighting for what they believe. Antigone risks her life by insisting to bury her brother. She feels that by burying him, she will be pleasing him in his capacity as a god. She sees more danger in dishonoring the dead than dishonoring the law of the king. This kind of behavior is dangerous for anyone to possess.
Creon has a high temper. When he is told that someone has buried Polyneices, his anger rises to unmanageable height. He accuses the guard who brings the news of burying her. He is too fast to pass judgment. He seems not to understand anything the sentry says after that. The guard returns in a while with Antigone and very sure she is guilty of burying Polyneices. Due to this kind of character, his death goes un-mourned.
The behaviors of the two characters are too extreme. This kind of behavior even in situations where it is meant for the good of the people does not serve its purpose. It stands to meet with a lot of opposition. Their behaviors probably lead to their demise.
4. (Required) Your answers to the questions above will count the most, but this last question will add a significant component to our enjoyment of the play which is meant to be acted out in public: How would you act out, or choreograph, the following passage? Give stage instructions to the three actors. You may include staging props.
(Enter Everyman, kindred and Cousin)
“Everyman: (energized yet sad) Alas, that I was ever born! (etc.)
Kindred: (steps back) Ah sir; what, ye be a merry man!
…As for me, ye shall go alone.
Cousin: (stuttering)…No, by our Lady, I have the cramp in my toe” (p.45).
Part 2: Unit Review (answer at least two):
1. How can you identify with Antigone’s dilemma and decision?
Dilemma is often a part of the mortals. We are often met with options where we stand to lose heavily either way we choose. The decisions we make are often inclined to what is morally acceptable in our societies, what we believe, and what we value most. Sometimes, either way, the choice leaves us with lots of regrets that last our entire lives. Sometimes people are expected to choose between risking as much as two lives for one. Yet failure to risk it leads to regrets. It is the nature of human kind to get involved in situations of dilemma.
Antigone is faced with the dilemma of either observing the laws of men or observing those of the gods. She has to make a choice and is prompt to do it. She has no option. For her to save herself and the community from the wrath of the gods, she must bury her brother at once. Dilemmas often require prompt action or fate makes the decision for one. Often the decision made by fate is unacceptable. It is not possible to make decisions after sometime. This often leads to poor decisions that are driven by emotion rather than values and good intention.
2. With which third party can you most identify?
The young woman Ismene shows the character of most people. She is not eager to get into trouble. She prefers to stay in the shadows of the law. She believes that it is foolish to wrestle with the law as she knows she will never win. She sees the sense in burying their brother but the fact that she is fearful of the law, she chooses to keep away from it.
She is just like most of us. When faced with laws that are oppressive and dictatorial, we opt to stay out of trouble and hope someone else intervenes. Ismene is the mirror of the current society. Only a few people, the likes of Antigone are ready to wrestle with the law. The rest of us prefer to keep quiet and hope that things will be okay. We are not apt to act even when our rights are being abused. When asked to go out and bury their brother for the gods’ sake, she says, “They mean a great deal to me, but I have no strength To break laws that were made for the public good” (64-65). Often, we are forced to do what is safest for us rather than what we believe in.
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