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Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Antigone, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon

The concept of citizenship and the duties that citizens owe to the state were subjects of huge importance and debate in fifth-century B.C.E. Athens, where Sophocles lived and where Antigone was first performed. Antigone and Creon represent the extreme opposite political views regarding where a citizen of a city should place his or her loyalties.

In the play, Creon has a strict definition of citizenship that calls for the state to come first: "…whoever places a friend / above the good of his country, he is nothing: / I have no use for him." From Creon's perspective, Polynices has forfeited the right to a proper burial as a citizen of Thebes because he has attacked the city. In attacking Thebes, he has shown his disloyalty to the state and has ceased to be a citizen. In fact, Creon is more devoted to his laws than he is to even his own son Haemon's happiness, refusing to pardon Antigone for burying Polynices even though she is Haemon's fiancée. Antigone, on the other hand, places long held traditions and loyalty to her family above obedience to the city or to its ruler. In doing so, she makes the case that there are loyalties to both the gods and one's own family that outweigh one's loyalty to a city.

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Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty ThemeTracker

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Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Quotes in Antigone

Below you will find the important quotes in Antigone related to the theme of Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty.
Lines 1-416 Quotes
I have longer
to please the dead than please the living here:
in the kingdom down below I'll lie forever.
Related Characters: Antigone (speaker)
Page Number: 88-90
Explanation and Analysis:
I will suffer
nothing as great as death without glory.
Related Characters: Antigone (speaker)
Page Number: 112-113
Explanation and Analysis:
And speech and thought, quick as the wind
and the mood and mind for law that rules the city—
all these he has taught himself
and shelter from the arrows of the frost
when there's rough lodging under the cold clear sky
and the shafts of lashing rain—
ready, resourceful man!
Never without resources
never an impasse as he marches on the future—
only Death, from Death alone he will find no rescue
but from desperate plagues ha has plotted his escapes.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Creon
Page Number: 396-405
Explanation and Analysis:
Lines 417-704 Quotes
Like father like daughter,
passionate, wild…
she hasn't learned to bend before adversity.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Antigone
Page Number: 525-527
Explanation and Analysis:
Lines 705-1090 Quotes
Spit her out,
like a mortal enemy—let the girl go.
Let her find a husband down among the dead.
Related Characters: Creon (speaker), Antigone
Page Number: 728-730
Explanation and Analysis:
show me a greater crime in all the earth!
Related Characters: Creon (speaker)
Page Number: 751-752
Explanation and Analysis:
Whoever thinks that he alone possesses intelligence,
the gift of eloquence, he and no one else,
and character too…such men, I tell you,
spread them open—you will find them empty.
Related Characters: Haemon (speaker), Creon
Page Number: 791-794
Explanation and Analysis:
Am I to rule this land for others—or myself?
Related Characters: Creon (speaker)
Page Number: 823
Explanation and Analysis:
What a splendid king you'd make of a desert island—you and you alone.
Related Characters: Haemon (speaker), Creon
Page Number: 826
Explanation and Analysis:
Love, you mock us for your sport.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Antigone, Haemon
Page Number: 894
Explanation and Analysis:
I go to wed the lord of the dark waters.
Related Characters: Antigone (speaker)
Page Number: 908
Explanation and Analysis:
You went too far, the last limits of daring—
smashing against the high throne of Justice!
Your life's in ruins, child—I wonder…
do you pay for your father's terrible ordeal?
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Antigone
Page Number: 943-946
Explanation and Analysis: