Theme Of Divine Law In Antigone

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The most significant theme in Sophocles’ Antigone is whether or not human law conquers the divine law. The chorus sums up both sides of the argument best when they say, “When the laws are kept, how proudly his city stands! When the laws are broken, what of his city then?” (lines 297-298). The divine law, or “Law of God” express the moral or ethical beliefs or actions that embody God’s will and is more eternal. On the contrary, human law, or “Law of Man”, chronicles a set of rules of behavior that rule a country and are carried out by a set of punishments and is a more fleeting concept. In Antigone, it is evident that the everlasting divine law is valued more highly over the ever-changing human law.
Amidst the play, the newly crowned king Creon
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Antigone believes that her brother deserves the burial rites, in accordance to the divine law, but later takes her own life, which is condemned by the Gods in Greek culture. Antigone takes pride in her actions of defiance, as well. The Greek gods look down upon and denounce pridefulness. Everyone must decide for themselves whether or not to follow the law of man or the divine law. Antigone chooses the divine law, while Creon chooses the law of man. They both believe that their actions were just. Antigone believes that her brother should be buried in accordance to the divine law. Creon believes that Polyneices was a traitor to their kingdom, and therefore did not deserve a righteous …show more content…
Antigone does not regret hers, but Creon does. Teiresias, an oracle, reveals a prophecy that states, “. . . the one on a grave before her death, the other, Dead, denied the grave. This is your crime: And the Furies and the dark gods of Hell Are swift with terrible punishment for you” (line 842-849). It is only after Creon is warned by Teiresias about his fate that Creon eventually calls for Antigone to be released, he regrets his actions, saying “My mind misgives–– The laws of the gods are mighty, and a man must serve them To the last day of his life!” (lines 878-880). Creon saw the fault in his thinking too late. Creon calls for Antigone to be released from the cave only to find her hanging from the ceiling, and soon after that Haemon commits suicide. Creon ultimately discovers that will of the Gods ultimately triumphs human law.
Throughout history there have been many example of individuals choosing divine law over that of human law. Civil disobedience is a more modern term for this idea, it is a form of peaceful protesting by disobeying an unjust law because it contradicts with your beliefs, values, or morals. Many anti-war protests are because of religious or moral issues. This is not an uncommon idea, there will always be human laws that contradict divine laws. It is up to people to find some form of moderation that allows them to follow both

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