Moral And Political Law In Sophocles Antigone

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Sophocles makes us think about whether we should follow moral or political laws in his play Antigone. Antigone is the sister of a recently deceased traitor who has been sentenced to no burial by Creon, who acts as the king and also Antigone’s uncle. Antigone makes the moral choice to disobey the law and bury her brother, following the law of the gods. Creon sentences Antigone to death after her arrest. Creon faces the conflict of being a strong leader who sticks to his law, or letting Antigone go with the possibility of portraying a passive leader that does not abide by the rule of law. After realizing that Antigone did what was morally right, Creon makes the decision to free Antigone. By the time of his arrival, Antigone has taken her life. …show more content…
To successfully rule, Creon strives to follow the rule of law, which means to remain fair to everyone. Antigone had another brother named Eteoclês who was killed in the war, but he fought for his country and was a hero. When Eteoclês died he received a proper burial with military honors. Polyneicês, who was the traitor, was not to receive a burial and his body was to be left out for birds and scavenging dogs. According to Creon he was doing what was pragmatic and fair, although Polyneicês was apart of his family. In order to set an example of a practical ruler, he did not reward the traitor with the same burial as a soldier who served his country. Creon’s son Haimon tries to explain to his father that everyone in the city says that what Antigone did was the right thing and that she should be honored instead of put to death. Haimon suggests that reasoning with Antigone might be the right thing to do. Creon rejects his suggestion and says to Haimon, “Do you want me to show myself weak before the people? / Or to break my sworn word? No, and I will not. / The woman dies” (217). As a male ruler, Creon wants to show his masculinity by sticking to his word and not changing. If he goes back on his word he would appear weak and compromising to his people. Clearly, Creon’s main focus is to keep the order and welfare of the state by sticking to the rule of …show more content…
Antigone cannot prove if she was right in her actions because her moral obligation is not able to be demonstrated through reason. According to the law of the gods, burying the dead is the right thing to do and it allows her to pay respect to her brother. Her femininity makes her aware that Creon’s choice not to bury Polyneicês was wrong. Creon has a moral obligation to the state. He tries to make practical decisions based on political law while exhibiting a practical masculine attitude in his choices without being flexible and open to any reason. Antigone and Creon’s pride is shown when Antigone is brought to Creon for questioning after she was arrested. When Antigone cannot reason with him she asks if he wants anything other than her death. Creon responds by saying that her death would give him everything. Antigone then says, “Then I beg you: kill me. / This talking is a great weariness: your words / Are distasteful to me, and I am sure that mine / Seem so to you. And yet they should not seem so: / I should have praise and honor for what I have done” (210). Clearly Antigone is content with what she has done and she is aware that she cannot level with Creon. She knows that her actions were noble and right before the gods so being punished on earth has no effect because she will be rewarded in her after

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