Family And Authority In Oedipus The King And Antigone

1452 Words 6 Pages
Values defined standards that people use to decide what is desirable and serve as guidelines on how to live life. Two of the many values that are praised in society include family and authority. Family is considered to be a group of people that share a common ancestor, bonding and uniting together. Authority is the power bestowed on a person or group of people who have the right to enforce rules, obedience, and make rules on behalf of society. In an ideal world, both of these values could thrive in harmony, but in the works of Sophocles, it is evident that the authority is more important than family. Both in Oedipus the King and Antigone it is evident that authority is considered more important than family by Sophocles as the values of a unified …show more content…
“Antigone: Will you lift up his body with these bare hands/and lower it with me? Ismene: What? You’d bury him -- / when a law forbids the city? Antigone: Yes!/ He is my brother and -- deny it as you will -- your brother too. / No one will ever convict me for a traitor” (Sophocles pg. 61, lines 52-56). This quote shows that there is a ban against citizens of Thebes burying their relatives after they have passed. Contrary to Sophocles, Antigone believes that family is more important than authority as she relentlessly buries her brother while aware of the law she is breaking. With this in mind, Antigone is later accused of civil disobedience, or the refusal of a citizen to obey a certain law enforced by a ruler or the government. A true display of civil disobedience by Antigone is when she states “I will bury him myself./And even if i die in the act, that death will be a glory” (Sophocles pg. 63, lines 85-86). This quote represents civil disobedience because Antigone is defying the law of not burying a deceased family member and has no worries about it because she knows that it is right. In a way, Antigone herself can represent the strong value of family, which is hindered by the law favoring authority since Antigone wants to do anything in her power in order to honor her deceased brother. Sophocles …show more content…
the laws of God. Socrates breaks the picture of a unified family when he projects Creon being punished by Oedipus in Oedipus the King for a “crime’’ which Oedipus believes to be true. Later on in Oedipus the King it is displayed that Oedipus is not aware of who is real parents are, creating another separation where authority trumps family. In regards to the rules that have been placed against burying the deceased family members, this also displays how Socrates places authority above family. Antigone was trying to honor her dead brother and in order for her to do that, she had to break a law. Family is not seen as important in this scene because civil disobedience had to occur in order for the family aspect to even be seen. Socrates would imagine that authority is more important as the law rules the land, not our love for family. Furthermore, Sophocles dictates authority being more important than family as he uses the law of man v. the law of Gods. Sophocles places the ruler on a pedestal, so to speak, as he is the communicator between the citizens and the Gods. If it were not for the beloved ruler, the Gods would be angry all the time since the citizens were not following what the Gods

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