Confronting Death in Greek Mythology: Allegiance to Family or Empire?

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Joseph Drake asserted, “And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps the brave” (Quote Garden). Is it respectable and honorable to allow a man who fought for the sovereignty of his father’s country to disintegrate on open land and feed the vultures? Leaving a man to rot, especially when he holds power above most, is both immoral and spiteful.

Two royal brothers battle and die for the throne of Thebes and leave behind a city to be led by a wicked and conceited Creon. Antigone experiences great remorse, dishonor, and violation after the passing of her dear brothers, Polyneices and Eteocles. Creon orders Eteocles to be buried with formal rights, but Polyneices is not mourned for and is exposed to earth’s creatures. Antigone is not only enraged, but also feels that it is her obligation to truly lay her brother to rest with or without the help of Ismene, her sister.

Primarily examining the religious burial rites and next indicating Creon’s political rashness will allow a better understanding of Antigone’s boldness. Subsequently a reflection on the social morals of a proper entombment will support Antigone’s decision. Finally, a consideration of Antigone’s own rightful duty as Polyneices’ sister will create empathy for her as well. Many motives help fathom Antigone’s perception of defying Creon’s harsh decree in Thebes, which led her to provide a burial of which Polyneices is worthy.

Digging into the religious aspect of Antigone’s decision to disobey Creon, one must take note of her culture. Back then, the gods’ wishes were not taken frivolously. Antigone feels as if the gods’ have spoken to her, wishing for Polyneices to be buried. She is will...

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