They read, There is no happiness where there is no wisdom; No wisdombut in submission to the gods. Big words are always punished, And proud men inold age learn to be wise. These lines are an important part of the play. Theysymbolize Creon’s bad decisions he made, his defiance to the gods, thepunishment he went through because of his edict, and the wisdom he gainedbecause of all his mistakes.
“There is no happiness where there is nowisdom” demonstrates how Creon not using wisdom in his decision affected him. By declaring that Polyneices could not have a proper burial, he went against thegods and the other citizens of Thebes’s beliefs. This was not a wise decisionon his part, and because of it he lost his wife, his son, and his happiness. Creon also defied the laws of the gods. This is what is expressed in the line,”No wisdom but in submission to the gods.
” In Antigone, the edict anddecisions that Creon made demonstrated that his law was more important then thegods laws. His defiance of the laws eventually made him believe, by talking toTeirisias, that something bad would happen to him, so he gave in to hisdecision. When he gave into the gods he gained wisdom and learned that hisactions would be punished. Creons edict is considered his big words. In thethird line it says, “Big words are always punished. ” Creons edict waspunished by his loss of happiness.
He proclaimed to his city that Polyneices maynot be buried, when he did this he was very proud and demanding about hisdecision. He was determined not to change his mind for anything. These big wordsthat he proclaimed would bring his downfall. Because Creon locked Antigone up,for burying Polyneices, she killed herself. Creon’s son Haimon, who wasengaged to Antigone, also committed suicide upon seeing his beloved Antigonedead.
Also Creon’s wife took her own life. If Creon hadn’t gone against what wasright, by making his laws more important then the god’s laws, and issuing hisedict, he would not have suffered the way he did. By getting involved instopping Polyneices burial by his edict he brought upon his own terriblepunishment. The last line, “Proud men in old age learn to be wise”explains the main theme of Antigone.
The proud man is Creon, the King of Thebes. By all the mistakes he makes he learns to be wiser. As a ruler he was a veryproud man. He didn’t seem to care about anything as long as his commands werecarried out. By losing his son and wife and probably the respect of manycitizens of Thebes he grew wiser. Creon’s bad decisions he made, his defiance tothe gods, the punishment he went through because of his edict, and the wisdom hegained because of all his mistakes, all contribute to the main theme of Antigone,that people sometimes have to learn the hard from their mistakes.
Theexplication of the final four lines of the play really give a betterunderstanding of the theme that Sophocles was trying to get across to hisaudience.