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Essay on Tyrant and Martyr in Sophocles' Antigone

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Tyrant and Martyr in Antigone

"The tyrant dies and his rule ends,the martyr dies and his rule begins."  Soren Kierkegaard  This quote applies to Sophocles’ play Antigone in many ways. The two lines can be used to describe the opposition of the two main characters in the play, Creon and Antigone. One is a king new to the throne who will not be ruling for long, and the other, a martyr whose strong convictions will live on even after her death.

    In the first line of his quote, Kierkegaard states that a tyrant’s reign dies with him. Creon, in the play Antigone, is unquestionably the tyrant. Although he is new on the throne, he has already started to show his true colors. He is inflexible and unyielding, afraid to give ground on the basis that it would undermine the power of the state. This is shown in Scene III, when he makes his reply to Haimon:

"Do you want me to show myself weak before the people? Or to break my sworn word? No, and I will not. The woman dies."

It is evident from this quote that his image is more important to him th...


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