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Civic Responsibility Vs. Religious Duty In Antigone

1215 words - 5 pages

In the play Antigone, Creon, king of Thebes faces a harsh conflict with himself, involving the values of family and religion verse the civic responsibility he must maintain for the city of Thebes that comes with being the new king. In theory no decision Creon makes is going to be the rite one. Although both Antigone and Creon have justified reasons for believing in there own laws only one can be upheld by the play and how Sophocles interoperates the play himself. Creon must decide whether to punish Antigone, a princess, daughter of king Oedipus, or fail at enforcing his own law and look weak in front of the citizens of Thebes as their new leader. The law stated that anybody who touched the corpse of Polyneices, a prince, and son of Oedipus would be stoned in the town square.
Polyneices was to be untouched because after ruling Thebes side by side with his brother Etocles, the two brothers fought in war for the thrown. Polyneices gather his own army and fought against his own city. After that he was deemed the title of a traitor and Creon announced his rule about Polyneices, Antigone was caught burying her brother and denied nothing because she believed traitor or not he was still a soldier for Thebes and he was her own blood so she could not sit around and let this happen to her brother.
What Antigone did goes against Creon and this is where his difficult decision comes in. “Creon represents the regal point of view, while Antigone is just the opposite. The primary conflict arises when Creon declares that no one be allowed to bury the body of Polynices, one of Antigone's brothers who was slain in battle. Antigone, who cares for her brother very much, wants to see him properly laid to rest, so that his spirit can find peace. Unfortunately, doing so will mean certain death, as Creon's orders are not to be disobeyed.” (Studentweb)
Antigone denies nothing about what she did and was glad she did it. Antigone ignores the idea of civic responsibility and puts her family first. Her family is more important to her than the law because she finds religion more powerful than Creon. “The ancient Greeks were polytheistic, they believed in many different gods and goddesses. The Greeks believed that these gods and goddesses controlled everything, from the waves in the ocean to the winner of a race.” (Richmond)
If Antigone did nothing, living with the guilt of not helping her brother would be worse. She breaks these rules for divine law, a law that is believed to come directly from god. Antigones actions for Polyneices that he must be buried is a requirement from the gods. If not buried properly the souls of the deceased were let to walk to river Styx, the entrance to the under world, for eternity and their souls would never be at rest. Not burying a body was a great insult to the dead and Antigone could not live with that on her conscience. Creon on the other hand ignores the laws of the gods and believes his duty to the city comes first. Creon believes...

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