Antigone is a tragedy about the characters facing the dilemma of obeying gods or meeting demands of the kingship. Eteocles and Polynices fight for the Thebes throne and they both die. Creon, the new King, declares that Polynices should remain unburied as a shameful punishment but Etiocles should be honoured. The penalty for a person who would bury Polynices is being entombed alive. Nevertheless, Antigone buries her brother in contravention to the King’s decree as it was researched by this service  Creon furiously questions Antigone on her disobedience but she defends the morality of her actions. However, Antigone is locked up waiting to be buried alive. Prophet Tiresias issues a warning to Creon against his punishment to Polynices and Antigone claiming that the King will lose his child if he continues with the retribution and decrees. As Creon changes his mind, a massager reports that Antigone has taken her life. Haemon, the son of Creon, who was betrothed to Antigone also commits suicide on hearing about the death of Antigone. Eurydice, Creon’s wife removes herself from life on receipt of the message about Haemon’s demise.

The Predestination of John Calvin

John Calvin defines predestination as the original unchangeable decree that would save particular people who are called the elect. The individuals who will be saved by God will inherit eternal life (van Vliet, 2016). Notwithstanding, God will bar others, the reprobate, from accessing salvation, and they will be sentenced to death. Antigone believes that she is predestined to after-life. She is confident that even if she suffered for the sake of her faith, she would have her life. Nonetheless, those who violate the will of gods are predestined to destruction. The punishment of destruction is seen by prophet Tiresias who warns Creon that his action of prohibiting the burial of Polynices has angered the gods. The prophet also alerts that the prayers of Thebes are going unanswered because of his behavior, and Thebes will experience the plague of sickness. The prophet notifies Creon that his son will die. According to the words of the prophet, Haemon, the son of Creon kills himself after discovering that Antigone committed suicide (Sophocles, 1917). The wife of Creon also takes her life after learning about the death of her child. Hence, disobedience to the laws of gods causes grief of Creon. The demise of Haemon and his mother imperils the continuity of kingship of Creon because he remains with no successor. Thus, insubordinate people are predestined to destruction.

The Christian Idea of Suffering

Antigone suffers because she upholds her religious duty of burying Polynices, who was her brother. Burying Polynices was associated with a threat of death as per the decree of Creon. After burying Polynices, the guards capture Antigone and deliver her to Creon, who sentences the woman to death. When Antigone is brought to Creon, he urges her to renounce her act and get total indemnity, but Antigone defends her actions to be moral (Sophocles, 1917). According to Antigone, the demand of the gods is more important than the laws enforced by Creon. Antigone defends the wills of the gods even if it means suffering and death. Moreover, Antigone demonstrates that suffering is the price to pay for fidelity to the dictates of the gods and devotion to the cause she believes in. Therefore, she chooses suffering and death in place of compromise. Even as she is taken to the tomb where she would be buried alive, Antigone still defends her right and moral duty to bury her brother.

The suffering of Antigone is synonymous to the apostles of the New Testament. The apostles were warned against preaching and practising the teachings of Christ (Schirrmacher, 2018). The punishment for engaging in these actions was imprisonment and execution. Nonetheless, the warnings did not hold back the apostles from spreading the gospels. The apostles were unjustly incarcerated but they endured their confinement with joy because they were doing it for Christ’s sake (Schirrmacher, 2018). Even when the attempts were made to persuade the apostles to renounce their trust in Christ and be set free, they chose to suffer. Therefore, the decision of Antigone to defend her belief reflects the Christian idea of suffering. Christians are urged to take a strong stance in their convictions of what is right in compliance with the Christian principles. Christians should not be cowed by the threat of suffering and death but they should remain steadfast in their belief in God. Thus, Christians should obey God rather than other men.

The Buddhist Idea of Karma

The Buddhist worldview is fundamentally determined by the principle of Karma. Karma implies that deliberate actions have consequences for an individual and his/her close people in the present and future life (Pirie, 2017). It is the law of cause and effect. In this regard, the events happen to a person arise as a result of their actions. Hence, all actions yield certain outcomes.

Creon became a victim of Karma in the play. Being a King, he decreed that Polynices should not be buried because he died as a traitor. The decree was against the laws of sanity and the religious doctrine. Thus, the King engaged in an unfavourable action. Antigone decided to rebel the decree claiming that it was her right to bury her brother. Besides, she argued that it was the dictates of the gods that a dead family member be buried. Owing to her obedience, Antigone finds a loving suitor, who is the son of Creon. The punishment of the King imposed on Antigone for violating his decree was being entombed alive.

Creon encounters undesirable consequences after infringing the laws of nature, religious practices and human rights. His son and wife commit suicide. Hence, Thebes becomes a place of sorrow. The principle of Karma is manifested in the actions of Creon, as the outcomes of breaking the laws of nature and the state were deaths of his loved ones (Sophocles, 1917). Every deliberate act yields consequences. If Creon had desisted from violating the laws, death would not have come to his family. In this respect, Karma affects not just an individual but also the people associated with this person whose actions lead to certain consequences. Therefore, Haemon and his mother died because of the disobedience of their father.

The Buddhist Idea of Dukkha

Dukkha is the teaching of the origin, path and cessation of suffering. Antigone tragedy is full of the incidences of suffering. As maintained by the first truth, a person may not suffer from outward causes but still feel unfulfilled (Fernando, 2017). Haemon is the son of the King who has as much he wants at his disposal. However, the death of Antigone leaves him frustrated so that he commits suicide. The second noble truth explains the origin of Creon’s suffering. Destructive urges become a significant factor that contributed to Creon’s anguish. The decree to remain Polynices unburied leads to the deaths in his family that result in great suffering of the King (Antigone). The gods required that dead people be buried. However, Creon did not even listen to the warning of the prophet. The third noble truth states that one should detach themselves from the things that make them suffer. Unfortunately, when Creon wanted to release Antigone, she had already taken her life. The occurrence is in line with the fourth truth that encourages humans to avoid indulgence in the actions that cause suffering (Fernando, 2017). However, Creon was late in taking these actions, as the consequences of indulgence had overtaken him.


From reading the tragedy of Sophocles, I have learnt that the pursuit of a rightful course requires self-sacrifice. It demands from an individual to endure suffering even if the aim does not involve any wrongdoing. Suffering for the sake of one’s beliefs is a value entrenched in both Christianity and Buddhism. Thus, sufferings of the prophets of the Old Testament and the principle of Dukkha in Buddhism are the bright examples that suffering is recognized across different religious cultures. Therefore, I concluded that I should have an unrelenting resolve to pursue my chosen course in spite of threats, intimidation or the risk of death. The people who persecute the champions of truth do not last long. The principle of Karma has taught me that every present good deed will be paid off in the future. One reaps what they sow. Hence, those, who thrive in doing wrong, live a life of misfortunes either currently or in the years ahead.

The afterlife is predestined basing on the actions of an individual performed in this world. A person may also inflict suffering to themselves. One of the causes is the destructive urges. Thus, the urge to create problems in the lives of others ends up to boomerang and reciprocate to the perpetrator. I have learnt that I should detach myself from the things that are likely to bring suffering to me. It is the moral choices made by an individual that determine the kind of life they lead. Additionally, the dictates of the gods take precedence over the decrees of kings. Hence, I am assured that I should adhere to my beliefs and disregard the instructions of men whenever the two seem to be in contradiction with my convictions. In this case, I will not fear to engage in civil disobedience, as it is a way of demonstrating the superiority of God over human rulers.