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Comparison between antigone and oedipus

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The two characters in the play have differences and similarities that are clearly presented by the play. The two are born as tragic heroes with flaws that are the major cause of their adown fall. These two characters were born to ruin, suffering and sorrow as a results of their flaws that make them defy the authorities. This essay is based on a drama by Sophocles describe how one’s curse could be transferred to generations down the line which may not necessary be something spiritual or being cursed by gods, but due to behaviors and some bad traits possessed by an individual such as pride and taking abrupt decisions before thinking of the possible repercussions (Markantonatos, 2007).


Oedipus Rex is the King of Thebes and Antigone was his daughter. These two characters are known to be so headstrong and rebellious. Someway or the other they both defy authorities, Oedipus defied the authority of the gods and Antigone defied her uncle’s, guidance and instructions. These persistent characters led to the unfortunate events that happened in the land of Thebes. They were both sentenced into suffering because they thought they did what was right; although their nobility led to what they did not think it would be (Barbara & Michael, 2007) Oedipus tried to get the truth about the murderer of king Laius to solve the plague of the land and his being persistent to know the truth despite being worn by Jocasta to stop getting more information; Oedipus did not know the summoning of his servant could lead to him to devastation and disgrace as a result of being dethroned out of his homeland and also the suicide made by his mother and wife Jocasta.

However, Oedipus’ stepping down as the king led to the war between his two sons; Polynicles and Eteocles which resulted to the death of the two. Antigone defied the orders by Creon which made Polynicles cursed and consequently was let on the crust for the vultures to feed on him (Markantonatos, 2007). However, Antigone being an obstinate person decided to bury her brother, because she feels she would be doing the right thing and the gods will also be pleased not caring about fatal consequences. It later resulted to the sister being punished for the crime she had not committed. The death of her fiancée, mother and her Uncle’s sadness were punishments she did not really deserve. These two poor souls did not know that responsibility they had failed to execute was the cause of all misfortunes that befall them and their families. Their ignorance behavior and actions brings an ironic outcome.


There are also differences that are depicted between the two fateful heroes. A keen look at Antigone reveals that she, unlike her brother Oedipus and father could remember the past tragedy that befall her and her relatives. The major character Antigone has general flaw that are responsible to her sufferings. She is very stubborn a fact that makes be sentenced to death. However due to her stubbornness she could not sit and watch the king kill hers for what she believed was good for her and the society and therefore she committed suicide. To her killing hers self was out of her stubborn to ensure the king would not kill her. (Barbara & Michael, 2007) In addition, Antigone is very confident. For instance, when she is caught breaking the states law and she has to appear before King Creon, she presents herself to the king very bravely and full of pride. When the king read the crime he committed she denies nothing despite the consequences of being sentenced to death. She says “I do, I deny nothing”. When her sisters volunteer to undergo the same punishment as Antigone, she does not let her for she believes her sister did not commit any crime that and does not therefore deserve the punishment. Her sister had full knowledge of what Antigone had planned to do but did not reveal a fact that makes her equally guilty.

Oedipus like Antigone possess flaws that make him suffer in the play. He is very arrogant and usually shows unnecessary importance that cannot be granted and justified. In the play he claims that every one know him and even the whole world knows about his fame. When he sees the messenger he asks what new he had for him since he believed that nobody in the house deserved a message except him. He is also quick to point accusing fingers to others. He accuses Teiresias of being disrespectful by telling him outrageous words. (Markantonatos, 2007). He also accuses King Creon of plotting to kill him and take his thrown without any justifiable truth apart from assumption he proposed. He is also quick to anger and even blows up easily for trial things. When Teiresias tells him he was wasting time looking for the king’s murderer he angered and rudely responds by saying that he was worthless to say such a comment. He is also angry with Creon when they discuss about who will rule the city after the king was murdered.


Throughout the play it is clear that we do not notice a tragic hero but a tragic collision created by the conflict between good and evil that exist between Antigone and Oedipus. The two tragic heroes fall into misfortune at a point in their life as a result of the flaws they possess. The misfortunes of tragic heroes seem to be determined by fate and not out of their will.


Barbara Goff & Michael Simpson (2007) Crossroads in the Black Aegean: Oedipus, Antigone, and Dramas of the African. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Markantonatos, A. (2007). Oedipus at Colonus: Sophocles, Athens, and the world. Berlin: De Gruyter.

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