Oedipus’ sons: Eteokles, who died/Hasn’t he buried one with honor?
fighting for our city, […] will be given the rituals/But he’s shamed the other. Disgraced him!
and burial proper to the noble dead./Eteokles, they say, was laid to rest
But his brother—I mean Polyneikes, who/according to law and custom.
returned from exile utterly determined/The dead will respect him in Hades.
to burn down his city, […] revel in kinsmen’s blood,/But Polyneikes’ sorry body can’t be touched.
enslave everyone left alive—/The city is forbidden to mourn him or bury him […].
as for him, it is now a crime for Thebans/That’s the clear order our good general
to bury him or mourn him./gives you and me—yes, I said me! (226-237/27-34, 37-38)
Piety serves as a force of tension against the human authority in Sophocles’ play, Antigone. One on side is Antigone, representing piety and faithfulness to the gods and their traditions; on the other side is Kreon, representing human authority and faithfulness to mortal law and its traditions. Contributing to the piety, human authority tensions are the personal and legal views of Antigone and Kreon, among other figures in the play.
The personal views of Antigone and Kreon contribute to the tension between piety and human authority. Antigone’s personal fear of the gods and of breaking tradition prompts her to act in the manner in which she does; Kreon’s view that Polyneikes is a traitor and thus that the gods would make an exception in excusing the lack of honor owed to him as a member of the royal family.
Antigone is strongly in favor of burying both of her brothers, Eteokles and Polyneikes. Secondary to her faithfulness to the gods, she...
... middle of paper ...
... the prophet Tiresias.
The function of piety in Antigone is to be a force of tension opposing human authority. Antigone herself is on the side of piety and faithfulness to the gods and their traditions. Kreon is on the side of human authority with his faithfulness to mortal law and its traditions. The tension between piety and human authority is partially comprised of the personal and legal views of Antigone and Kreon. Through the events of the play, both characters fully realize the power of fate. Antigone’s realization of fate’s power came with her death; Kreon’s realization came at the loss of his family, Haimon and Eurydike. After the events of Antigone, Kreon will forever remember to “Never fail to respect the gods,/for the huge claims of proud men/are always hugely punished—/by blows that, as the proud grow old,/pound wisdom through their minds” (1514-1518).
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