What Are the Themes in "Antigone"?

The major themes in "Antigone," the play written by Sophocles in or before 441 B.C., include natural law, pride, gender, blindness vs. sight, civil disobedience, family loyalty, and free will vs. fate. It also broaches the conflict between the individual and the state, as well as the differences between moral and divine law.

The theme of fate vs. free will is a common one in classical literature, with fate commonly deciding the outcome of both actions and lifestyles. The implication that characters are destined for greatness or cowardice, success or failure, is evidenced in "Antigone" by the fact that her father, Oedipus, had already fulfilled one of the most famous prophesies in ancient literature by killing his father and marrying his mother. Yet free will comes into play when it comes to his daughter, the heroine in Antigone. The ruler Creon is allowed to make choices and decisions that could alter the fate that has been set in motion for Antigone. Her own actions in defying Creon and burying Polynices are the perfect example of the theme of natural law. Her character chooses to abide by the natural laws of right and wrong rather than by the laws of the society in which she lives.