Comparing Sophocles ' Antigone And Thucydides 's ' The Athenian Era '

1786 Words Oct 15th, 2016 8 Pages
The forms of government in Ancient Thebes and Ancient Athens were antithetical, with Thebes having an absolute dictatorship and Athens having a pure, direct democracy. Nevertheless, both of these forms of government ultimately failed, as Sophocles demonstrates in his play, Antigone, and Thucydides demonstrates in his book, History of the Peloponnesian War. Together, these two works teach modern society that neither a pure democracy nor a pure dictatorship can be a successful political system due to inherent fatal flaws in each system. In the Athenian democracy, where every male citizen over 18 years of age received an equal vote in making decisions, the system failed since powerful speakers easily persuaded the Athenian assembly into rashly waging war. On the other hand, the absolute dictatorship in Thebes failed since the king, Kreon, made poor decisions based on his emotions and personal interests and no one could check his power. As a result, Sophocles and Thucydides demonstrate through their works that an ideal government is neither a pure democracy nor a pure dictatorship, due to inherent flaws in each system; however, Thucydides also demonstrates an effective form of government: a pure democracy checked by a strong leader who acts like an executive. In Antigone, Sophocles demonstrates that an absolute dictatorship is not an effective form of government since the King of Thebes, Kreon, rules based on his emotions and personal agenda instead of on what would be best…

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