Comparison of William Shakespeare’s and Antigone’s Revolutionary Works Julius Caesar and Antigone, and Their Influence on the Western Literature
Plays such Antigone by Sophocles, and Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare have shaped Western values and society throughout time. Several ideas and cultural values such as the importance of family, have survived through history; however, there are noticeable differences between cultural standards such as equality of opportunity.
If it weren’t for literature written by Sophocles and Shakespeare for example, the modern world would be far different. In the play Antigone, we are shown that family, morality, and responsibility were important in Greek society.
In Antigone, at 1:17:52, Creon’s (King of Crete) son [Hamon] was carried away on a stretcher as he cried “There is no place for a man who caused his son to die. ” Prior to this, Creon strongly believed authority was to be followed and obeyed without question for the good of society. He realized his ignorance when his son and wife were taken away, feeling sorrow for his mistakes. (1) Antigone explored ideas such as state control, citizenship, and family.
As Sophocles’ legacy has lived on, so has William Shakespeare’s, who is arguably one of the most influential writers in history. In his play Julius Caesar, Julius Caesar is murdered by a group of people including the characters Brutus, Cassius, and Casca. While most of the conspirators had seeked power for themselves, Brutus was selfless and wanted what was best for Rome. The play Julius Caesar, shares similar themes with Antigone, such as authority and pride, but also some key points Antigone does not have.
Some of these differences in Julius Caesar are doing what is best for society and public self vs private self. While Antigone does not focus on these, it does convey that allegiance to family is more important than allegiance to authority. What do these plays show about society, and how have Sophocles and Shakespeare influenced society? As mentioned earlier, both of these writers were influential where they lived and shared their opinions and ideas with the public. Their fame and influence at the time, allowed them more freedom of expression than the common person.
Shakespeare and Sophocles were revolutionary in their own unique, but similar, ways. Sophocles taught the Greek way of thinking to his students who became philosophers, such as Plato. He also change the art of writing forever which is the basis for writing and plays today. Sophocles added a third actor into the dramatic performances and made the “trilogy” into one whole play. Usually these trilogies had no more than 3 separate tragedies and had to fit everything into that one play. Shakespeare created some institutions and buildings, such as, the Globe Theater.
He influenced the English language so much that he is quoted more times than the Bible. Both writers influenced society so much that if they did not exist, modern culture would be far behind what it is today. In the United States, we have common values from people who aren’t afraid questioned society. If nobody ever did, we would not have individualism, privacy from the government, equality of opportunity, or any basic rights we have today. Without people to question commonly held beliefs, we would be hundreds of years behind.
If Sophocles and Shakespeare did become writers but never sparked conversations, Greek thinking might not exist. In conclusion, both Sophocles and Shakespeare changed society for the better and left a permanent mark on our culture.
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Plays such Antigone by Sophocles, and Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare have shaped Western values and society throughout time. Several ideas and cultural values such as the importance of family, […]