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Context: Wisdom And Antigone Essay

801 words - 3 pages

Younger people have tended to look towards the elderly for wisdom and guidance since the beginning of recorded history and beyond. Students to teachers, children to parents, ordinary people to royalty and politicians – generally those who have lived longer are not only believed, but expected to have garnered more knowledge in their longer lives. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. Also, in 2008 the Australian newspaper published an article detailing a study undertaken by the University of Aarhus in Denmark, which disproved the theory that the mind is at its peak in the late teens to mid-twenties. But all this is not to say that older people should not sometimes listen to and heed advice from younger people.
Wisdom reflects the values and criteria that we apply to our knowledge. Its essence is discernment. Discernment of right from wrong, helpful from harmful, truth from delusion. Being wise is not just being knowledgeable – it is applying that knowledge. Not just making statements – but also asking questions. It is giving but also listening to good advice, and it is learning from one’s mistakes. Also, wisdom and years are not always directly proportional. In Sophocles' “Antigone”, wisdom proves to represent a significant theme throughout the play. Creon, the king of Thebes, initially explains the importance of a ruler's duty of setting the city on its wisest course. However, as the play progresses, Creon fails to live up to his promises, by being irrational and selfish. Sophocles play emphasises how a lack of maturity and wisdom can have adverse effects on society.
Creon declares that an incompetent king "refuses to adopt the soundest policies" and also" places a friend above the good of his own country". The king here has declared he shall be judged - on his ability to take advice from others and putting others before himself. In this sense he fails, placing the laws of the state above the "the great unwritten, unshakable traditions of the Gods". The values and criteria that Creon declared, he did not live up to. Citizens of a country, state or municipality elect political leaders to look after matters that a populace cannot by themselves. They are chosen because of their wisdom, and experience – which usually comes with age. In city-states such...

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