Connecting Essay #2- Antigone and Jerk

Connecting Essay #2- Antigone and Jerk - Which character in...

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Which character in Antigone acts most like a jerk? Provide the criteria for jerkitude and a reference from the play. Creon in Antigone qualifies as a jerk the most. According to “A Theory of Jerks,” jerk “culpably fails to appreciate the perspectives of others around him.” Creon satisfies the criteria as he is incapable of empathizing with the point of view of Antigone, Ismene and Haemon. Antigone argues that “death yearns for equal law for all the dead” as she strives for the equal treatment for her “full brother, on both sides, my parents’ child.” Her seemingly defiant action is justified by her values of family and integrity. However, Creon fails to appreciate this difference from his values. Therefore, in his conversation with Antigone, Creon perceives Antigone’s stubbornness as incompatible with his edicts and insists on punishing inexorably those whose values diverge from his: “then go down there, if you must love, and love the dead.” Another example of his failure of appreciating the “emotional perspectives of people around him” is his dialogue with Ismene. He perceives Ismene’s support of her sister as “lack of sense,” again illustrating his inability to comprehend different opinions. Ismene’s ultimate decision represents vanquishing her fear of punishment and pursuit of righteousness—a quality that should be extoled rather than condemned. Creon behaves as a “jerk” in this situation and totally dismisses the virtue of her decision, suggesting “you chose your mind ‘s distraction when you chose to work out wickedness with this wicked girl[Antigone].” Finally, in his conversation with Haemon, he also fails to understand “how he might be wrong and others right about some matter of fact.” The option suggested by Haemon is to pardon Antigone and the crowd are also supportive of this option: “your fellow-citizens maintain she’s not [sick with wickedness]” (25, 35). However, this advice only further infuriates Creon. As Creon believes “he’s firmly on the woman’s side,” he emotionally reprimands his son while ignores Haemon’s love and consideration for him. His perverseness is illustrated in “Is the town to tell me how I ought to rule,” suggesting his insistence on his wrong decision even though others consider it illogical. His understanding that “your [Haemon] whole long argument is but for her” is opinioned but he is unable to acknowledge this fact due to his “jerkitude.” The intentionality in his reasoning qualifies him more as morally ignorant rather than bumpkin ignorant; his upbringing enables him to judge to with understanding but he dismisses this ability in order to preserve his dignity as a ruler. Although the interaction between Creon and a person that is above him hierarchically is unavailable to characterize him as “kissing up,” his dialogues in the play demonstrates his strong propensity of “kicking down.” A trait of jerks is that they “distribute their jerkishness mostly down the
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