Civil Disobedience in Antigone and Trifles Essay

Civil Disobedience in Antigone and Trifles Essay

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Civil Disobedience of Antigone and Mrs. Hale

Civil disobedience is the purposeful violation of a law to show that it is unconstitutional or morally defective. In the plays, Antigone and Trifles, the female main characters commit an act of civil disobedience. The plays are respectively written by Sophocles and Susan Glaspell. Antigone, the main character of Antigone, protects her dead brother's honor as she disobeys the laws of King Creon. Mrs. Hale, the main character of Trifles prevents a neighbor from being charged with homicide as she breaks the law in front of two lawmen-The Sheriff and the County Attorney. Both characters' crimes are similar; however, their differences lie in how they handle their violations. Antigone boldly and proudly breaks the law, does not care if she is caught, and loudly admits to the crime in front of her fellow Theban citizens. On the other hand, Mrs. Hale performs her crime artfully and quietly, does not want to be caught, and has no intentions of exposing her crime. Both characters accomplish their tasks, but Mrs. Hale's actions are carried out more effectively. She saves her neighbor and herself from imprisonment.
In both plays, the main characters break the laws for justifiable reasons. In Antigone, Antigone's dead brother, Polynices, is considered a traitor and King Creon "forbids anyone to bury him, mourn him" (Sophocles 88). She knows that all men deserve a proper burial and to not do so will be "an outrage sacred to the gods!" (Sophocles 95). Therefore, she "raise[s] a mound for him [Polynices]" (Sophocles 95) so that her city will not have to "face the retribution of the gods" (Sophocles512). She violates King Creon's decree to appease her gods. In Trifles, Mrs. Hale ...


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...f civil disobedience causes a tragic domino effect. Antigone commits suicide. Haemon, who is Creon's son and Antigone's fiancé, is torn apart by grief and kills himself. Haemon's mother and Creon's wife, Eurydice, learns of her son's death. She becomes despondent and takes her own life: "She drove home to the heart with her own hand, once she learned her son was dead" (Antigone 1440-1441). Her words do end many things. The law is banished. Her brother is allowed to be buried, but now he is accompanied by three others.
Sophocles' Antigone and Glaspell's Mrs. Hale both accomplish their tasks. Antigone's glorified act of civil disobedience costs many lives and has horrific consequences. Mrs. Hale's modest act of civil disobedience saves lives. There is no doubt that Mrs. Hale's defiant whisper obtained greater results than Antigone's screams of rebellion.

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