The classics, Antigone and A Doll’s House Essay
The classics, Antigone and A Doll’s House
To understand the relationships and the differences between two stories, one must analyze the story from beginning to end, noting which direction each story heading from the beginning. The plot must be closely looked upon as well as the actors and their actions. Antigone and A doll’s house are very similar stories as they both tragic stories of betrayal and mind games.
In Antigone, King Creon makes a statewide decree stating that Polynices, the traitor is not to receive a formal burial and is left to rot in the open, but his sister, Antigone, defies his decree even after her sister, Ismene’s, refusal to aid in his burial. She buries Polynices and is caught. Soon a Sentry (military officer) arrives at the throne to give news to the king of the violation of his strict decree. The king threatens to take the life of the messenger if he does not come back with news of who has buried this traitor of his kingdom. Later, she is sentenced to be buried alive by King Creon even though she is about to marry the king’s son, Haemon. After hearing of the sentencing, Tiresias comes to the throne to speak with the king, along side him, a small boy as an escort.
This old prophet is a blind man that in the end of the story, is proven to see better than most able-bodied men of 30 years younger than that of himself. Tiresias proves to the king that gods are not on his side and Creon changes his mind. His final decision is too late. He leaves the throne to personally bury Polynices and speak with Antigone in the cave he sentenced her to die in. He finds that Antigone had hung herself and his own beloved son is no charging at him in full fury but then his blood is spilt at the mercy of his own blade. Meanwhile, back at the throne of King Creon, Eurydice is walking by a room where she hears men speaking of her dead son. She enters the room, where the king’s cabinet awaits. She is told the news of her son’s death and later takes her own life. Now Creon is all alone.
Creon is man that is put into a tight predicament when he issues his decree. Creon is king and all in his kingdom are to obey his laws but what if he were to issue a law that goes against the gods’ laws. As king, any man would look like a weak fool if someone defied a direct order that he gave to an entire kingdom but what if later on, Creon was to reach the realization that his decree is seen as unjust by the gods as well as the people of his kingdom. He is torn between looking weak to his entire kingdom by withholding his decree and having Polynices a proper burial service, or looking strong by going on with the death of his son’s fiancèe and be looked down upon by the people he serves. In A Doll’s House, Nora Helmer runs into a very similar dilemma, which results in the odd twist at the end of the story.
This story begins on Christmas Eve when Nora finds out that her husband Torvald has just received a promotion that will boost him to become bank manager. This excites Nora because some time back, her husband was very ill and was on the verge of death. Nora could not afford to keep her husband out of his deathbed so she forged her father’s signature on a contract that she and a man by the name of Krogstad had put together. Krogstad, an employee of Torvald’s, has had a shady history and hasn’t worked for Torvald long, but is willing to loan Nora the money to have her husband cured. Signing her father’s signature three days after his own death, Krogstad eventually finds out and is considering taking Nora to court because Krogstad has yet to be repaid for the loan.
A woman, by the name of Mrs. Linde comes into town looking for employment and Nora recommended her to her husband. Torvald, considering getting rid of Krogstad because of his shady background, decided to replay Krogstad with Mrs. Linde and the rumor gets around the bank. Krogstad stops by and puts a letter in Torvald’s box revealing to him the situation at hand. A doctor comes over later on and tells Nora that he is dying and Nora flirts with him trying to seduce him into maybe giving her the money but is interrupted when Krogstad is introduced to the scene. Krogstad meets Nora and tells her that she is going to be brought in front of a judge in a court of law if he looses his job. He would be loosing his only source of income and having children to feed, he would require Nora to pay him back so he intends to blackmail Nora for his job back.
Torvald comes home and walks into his office and reads part of the letter. Enraged, Torvald comes out and finds Nora trying to leave. He stops her and goes off on a tantrum exclaiming how severely Nora has just ruined his life but is interrupted by the maid who brings forth a letter from Krogstad that is addressed to Nora. Taking the letter, Torvald reads it and forgives her because Krogstad has had a change of heart. Previous to Krogstead’s termination from the bank, Torvald promised his wife that he would take care of any repricutions from Krogstead’s terminations but then falls back on his promise when he explains how Nora has ruined his life. She, in turn, sees what kind of person Torvald and hates what she finds. Nora then decides to leave her husband, family, and maid, to go out and educate herself about the world and her own personal character.
Nora and Antigone both share some of the same character traits but they were revealed at opposite times in both of the stories. At the beginning of Antigone, Antigone makes a huge decision on how she is willing to die for her brother’s burial procedure and at the end of A Doll’s House, Nora makes her big decision about leaving everything she has ever known for her own sake, completely disregarding the needs of her family and prejudging that her husband will be able to take care of them alone, so she can go and have some time to herself to where she can find out who she really is. Creon is comparable to the character of Krogstad in A doll’s house. In Antigone, Creon is the deciding factor of the outcome of the story and the same goes with Krogstad because all in all, he is the one that makes the decision whether he wants to bring his opposing character down or not.
Creon made a decree stating that Polynices could not be buried and Krogstad made a decree saying that if he looses his job, he is taking Nora down with him. Together, they are both creating a fork in outcome of the stories. Mrs. Linde is like Ismene, Antigone’s sister, in the fact that they both offer their assistance in helping the main character of both stories towards the climax. Ismene is brought to the throne to speak of her sister’s actions and she is truthful in what she says but she argues that Antigone should not be put to death. Mrs. Linde, being an old lover of Krogstad, is asked by Nora try and get Krogstad to not go through with his own decree. In summary, there are many things that bridge these two classic stories together. The stories are just told in reverse order. It can all be tracked from when the decree was made in each story. Antigone and A Doll’s House are very much the same.