Sophocles ' The King And Antigone Essay

1543 Words Sep 29th, 2016 7 Pages
Sophocles wrote about kings. Mythological, or at the very least long dead, the regal protagonists of fraction of Sophocles’ surviving work embody the political realities of the ancients’ time. By examining and analyzing the origins and nature of kingship in Sophocles, one can glean a sliver of insight into a civilization that has all but disappeared. Sophocles’s kings were great human leaders, reaching their position through impressive deeds or standing in the community. Although they wielded great power and were dispensers of justice, ultimately, they answered to the gods and were beholden to divine power. The gods oversaw severe punishments for kings that defied them or proved wanting in any way. Both Oedipus the King and Antigone demonstrate how Sophocles’ kings were chosen on a meritocratic basis, tasked with dispensing justice and protecting their community, and ultimately answered to the gods. In order to understand the nature of kingship in Sophocles’ day, the first task is to determine the origins of the king’s power and position. One must analyze how a community selects a king to reign over them, or what makes an individual worthy of holding the title of king. Following from their origins, the king’s power must be examined next. Not only must the limits of the power be determined, but also where the power is drawn from, and what motivates a king to use his power at all. Next, an inquiry will follow into how kings use their power, how they determine their duty,…

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