While Antigone by Sophocles and A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry are very difference stories they have many similarities. Antigone is the about daughter of Oedipus trying to do what she believes is good. Her brothers have killed each other and while one gets a proper burial, the other is left to be eaten by wild animals. The reason he is not allowed to be buried is because King Creon believes he is unworthy of it. The main character Antigone defies Creon’s law and buries her brother anyways which upsets the king and he locks her up and puts her in jail.
His son Haemon, as it turns out, is Antigone’s soon to be husband. He does not agree with Creon’s tactics, but doesn’t do anything to go against him at first. Over time, Creon still does not have any intention of letting Antigone go nor does he think that he is wrong. A prophet comes to him and tells him he should probably let Antigone go unless he wants to live a miserable life. He still does not let her go, and it ends up that she kills herself. Haemon sees this, and also kills himself. Lastly, his wife Eurydice is so distraught that she kills herself, and Creon is left all alone.
A Raisin in the Sun is about a poor black family that suddenly inherits a good sum of money because the family’s father died. Mama, the mother of the household, wants to get a house of their very own which happens to be in a white neighborhood. Beneatha, the young student of the family, wants to use the money for her education. Walter, Mama’s only son and Ruth’s husband, wants to invest the money in a liquor store. Over the course of the play they are met with racists, liars, and snobs who conflict with the main characters. After all the hardships they eventually still move into the house.
These two very different stories have similar and different themes, situations, symbols and characters. Antigone and A Raisin in the Sun have a lot of similarities. The burial in Antigone symbolizes the love for her family. The prophet symbolizes the fate of the family. Ruth symbolizes the hardships of motherhood. The money symbolizes the father, and the future goals of the family. Both stories have symbols that have to do with family. A symbol is something that stands for itself and something greater than itself, and both stories use people as symbols, acts that people do as symbols, and objects as symbols.
Walter: [W]e have decided to move into our house because my father—my father—he earned it for us brick by brick. ” Fathers in the family are very important to each of the characters. Both Creon and Walter want respect as a father. The main female protagonists in each story are similar too. They are strong independent women that stand up for what they believe in. While Bennie wants to get in touch with her African roots, Antigone wants to bury her brother. Other people doubt these female heroes, but in the end they follow their hearts. The theme of pride is also evident in both of the stories.
Creon and Walter’s pride is the downfall of both of them. Walter is too prideful to admit that maybe his get rich quick schemes are not what the family should be doing with the money. Creon’s pride makes it so that he cannot just let Antigone go and ends up killing everyone he holds close. The situations that the characters in the stories go through have some similar situations also. Both have the situation of losing a loved one before any action takes place. In Antigone we don’t get to know the actual brother that is being buried but he is a big part of the play.
Same thing goes for A Raisin in the Sun, where we don’t really know much about the deceased father, though all the main characters miss him. For plays that are so widely different, there are many similarities. Even though there are similarities, there are many differences between the two plays. For one thing, no one actually dies in A Raisin in the Sun. It is not a tragedy like Antigone is and thus, it is way less tragic. “My nails are broken, my fingers are bleeding, my arms are covered with the welts left by the paws of your guards—but I am a queen! ” No way would this appear in A Raisin in the Sun.
While Antigone is a greek tragedy written before the birth of Christ, the other story takes place in Chicago in the 1950’s. While the character Antigone goes to great lengths to ensure her brother’s burial, she does not take into account how her sister Ismene will be affected, or how her future marriage might be terminated. The characters in A Raisin in the Sun are much more thoughtful of each other and want the money to be used to help everyone in the family. Antigone does not have any money problems because she was the king’s daughter and all her money issues are taken care of.
While she does not have any money issues, it does not mean in any way that her life is more fortunate. One of the prevailing themes of this play is the nature of tragedy. No matter what happens we know that it is doomed to fail because of the nature of the play. At least when reading A Raisin in the Sun we hope that the Youngers have everything turn out all right. The theme in that story is about dreams and much more relatable. In conclusion, Antigone and A Raisin in the Sun have many similarities and differences.
The symbols in the story greatly vary in many aspects while they still have something to do with family. The characters Antigone and Bennie are alike while Creon and Walter are also alike. There are many different themes in both stories but love, family, and pride are alike in both of them. The conflicts in the story do not have very much in common which makes it more out of the ordinary that they have similar symbols, characters and themes. It is interesting how two greatly varying stories can have so much in common even though they were written by very different people.
Courtney from Study Moose
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