Moral And Political Law In Sophocles' Antigone

1451 words - 6 pages

Moral and Political Law in Sophocles' Antigone

In Sophocles' play Antigone, the tragedy is brought by the conflict
between the moral laws and manmade political laws. Neither Kreon nor
Antigone is clearly "right" or "wrong". In other words they are both
"right" and "wrong". The moral laws are essential to keep faith in
one's heart and have strength in oneself. Political laws help
determine what is just and unjust to prevent the chaos that might
occur if everyone did what they think is right. Kreon and Antigone
exhibit both their negative and positive qualities throughout the

Antigone is a strong, courageous character and she has no fear towards
death. She believes that the burial of Eteokles must take place
because she loves her brother, and family royalty is very important to
her. For example she says:

"I love my brother and I'm going to bury him, now." -Pg.24 lines 100-1

Antigone's motivation towards her brother causes her to take her
actions. She considers that one's family love is the factor that must
be valued over every thing else. Antigone is also extremely
determined, and is not easily convinced by other people. At first
Antigone asks her sister, Ismene to join her in the burying but after
Ismene refuses to take part in the action, she immediately makes her
mind to carry out the burying on her own. Even her one and only
sister's pleas does not convince her. Antigone's one other reason for
carrying out the burial is her respect towards the gods. She believes
that the gods requires the burial for the dead and they would not be
pleased by the fact that a dead body was left in the public, unburied.
If a body is left unburied, the soul will not reach the under world
and the soul will remain in the world of the men. This will disturb
the nether gods as well as the gods high up. So by not burying
Eteokles, one will be dishonoring the gods. Antigone states:

"If you believe you must,

cast out these principles gods themselves honor."- Pg.24 lines 96-7

This is the action which the gods wish for, so they must be taken
place. Their laws must be followed because gods are superior amongst
all human beings.

The moral laws which Antigone values are essential in this case
because Kreon shows many negative qualities which make him appear as a
tyrant king. He misuses power and abuses power. Kreon considers that a
state belongs to the most powerful man, which in this case is him. He

"Nations belong to the men with the men with power.

That's common knowledge."- Pg.50 lines 888-9

He assumes that he is always correct and is inflexible. He does not
listen to other people's suggestions even if they are right.

"Men our age, learn from him?"-Pg.50 line 875

This is very dangerous because it can bring forth a corrupted
government where king is the...

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