Cold Sunlight: Light and Dark Imagery in Antigone
In Sophocles' Antigone, Creon, the King of Thebes, is entrusted to care for Antigone and Ismene, the daughters of the deceased Theban King Oedipus. However, Creon and the strong-willed Antigone clash on the issue of the burial of Antigone and Ismene's brother Polyneices. Polyneices and Eteocles, another brother, died in the battle that ensued when Polyneices invaded Thebes and his brother's ruling party. Because Eteocles' side won, and because Polyneices was the exiled invader, Eteocles was to be given a hero's funeral while Polyneices was ordered to be abandoned in the open for the birds and insects to eat his corpse. Creon fully agrees with this assessment, because it aligns with the nomos, or the government's law, but Antigone despairs over the injustice of it-in her view, everyone should be given a proper burial, according to the physis, or natural law. This conflict between Creon and Antigone, and the narrating Chorus' opinions of both sides, is at the center of the events in the play. Sophocles makes use of contrasting light and dark imagery to portray the Chorus' perception of not only the play's characters and events but of the conflicting laws of nature and government that they...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 782 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5383 literature essays, 1608 sample college application essays, 212 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in