For many, love is defined by a marriage or a happy family. People picture a high school romance or the affection between their grandparents. Despite these commonly pictured relationships, love is often more complicated than one might think. For some, the path love takes can be travelled at the expense of life altering results. Sophocles explores this idea in his play, Antigone, by creating love and death within one family. Although Haimon’s affection is never directly shown on stage, he proves his love for Antigone through his actions and words.
The first way in which Haimion demonstrates his feelings for Antigone is by defending her actions to his father. Antigone has buried the body of her brother, which Creon had previously outlawed, and Haimon is informing his father about how the people, himself included, believe this is wrong, “[The people] say no woman has ever, so unreasonably,/ Died so shameful a death for a generous act:/ She covered her brother’s body… She should have all the honor that we can give her!” (218-219) By defying Creon, Haimon shows he cares more about defending Antigone than respecting his father.
Although Haimon is speaking to his father on behalf of the people, not Antigone, he is still demonstrating his devotion towards her because standing up to his father takes courage and a sense of rebellion. By showing these emotions, Haimon highlights his deep, emotional feelings for Antigone.
Haimon also confirms his love for Antigone by threatening to kill himself in front of his father.
While Creon and Haimon engage in numerous arguments concerning Antigone’s punishment of death, Creon states that “[Haimon will] never marry [Antigone] while she lives” (222). Haimon responds to his father by stating that Antigone, “must die.—But her death will cause another” (222). His willingness to sacrifice his life for Antigone shows that Haimon cares more about his love interest than his father. This clear devotion is essential to Haimon’s character. Until now, he demonstrated an intense respect for his father. Changing his stance so suddenly proves that Antigone must mean a lot to Haimon. Since he and Creon were discussing Antigone’s punishment, the factor that made Haimon change his mind must have been Antigone herself. This suggests that Haimon cares greatly for her. The reader also realizes that Haimon is putting the worth of his life equal, or even above, Antigone’s. Haimon implies that if his father decides to kill Antigone, then he will be committing murder to his son as well. A person would only make a claim that drastic if they cared very passionately about what they were sacrificing themselves for. This once again leads the reader to believe that Haimon has feelings for Antigone.
A third way Haimon proves his love for Antigone is by killing himself following the death of her. After Antigone is found dead, the messenger brings the news to Creon. He also informs the king about the death of his son, stating that “Haimon is dead; and the hand that killed him/ Is his own hand… His own, driven mad by the murder his father had done” (239). Haimon has killed himself as a result of Antigone’s death. Although the reader was introduced to the prospect of Haimon’s suicide, it is now more of a reality rather than a threat. Someone would only choose to die for something if it was important to them, so the fact that Haimon has actually killed himself demonstrates that he is willing to defend Antigone with his life. He would only show this amount of care and passion towards Antigone if he were in love with her.
Haimon expresses his feeling of affection for Antigone through his dialogue and actions, rather than it being displayed openly on stage. While these feeling are often associated with happiness and care, people, including Haimon and Antigone, can experience love in an entirely different way which involves having to fight and chase after one another. Although love can often be seen as a challenge or uphill battle, it is important for people to look at it as something great and meaningful in life.