Obligations And Civil Disobedience Of Antigone And On Free Choice Of The Will
Dr. Derk Wierda
30 September 2016
“For it was Not Zeus that Published that Edict”: Obligations and Civil Disobedience in Antigone and On Free Choice of the Will
Obligations are a part of life, whether they be concrete like a list of chores, or more abstract, like obligations to other people. The latter, also known as loyalty, is a key factor in both decision-making and the formation of relationships. The prioritization of these allegiances specifically, whether they be to oneself, the community, the family, or the Divine, shape reactions to moral and ethical dilemmas and create a unique perspective. In Sophocles’ Antigone, the contention of these loyalties causes an internal struggle and conflict for the titular protagonist who must decide where the priorities for her allegiance lies. Conflicting obligations cause turmoil, but as seen in Antigone and St. Augustine’s On Free Choice of the Will, loyalty to the Divine is the most important to fulfill and the failure to recognize this leads people astray, and in this case, to tragedy.
Antigone’s choice to break the law in order to bury her brother is a justifiable act of civil disobedience because it was done primarily out of her obligations to the Divine. She chooses to complete the ritual partly out of respect, but mostly out of fear that she will [dishonor] laws which the gods have established (Sophocles 125). Her decision to turn against Creon, her uncle and king, is justified by her religious…