Essay On Antigone Vs Human Law

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Temmi Lattin Mrs. Hill English 9 29 February 2014 Divine Presence vs Human Law- Which one overrules the other? Ever since the beginning of days, people have pondered the question of whether or not any gods exist and if they do, are they in control? In Sophocles’ Antigone, the reader is introduced to two opposing characters: Antigone and Creon. Creon, the king of Thebes, decrees that Polynices, who led an army against Thebes, is a traitor and therefore may not be buried. Antigone, a strong and persistent woman, disagrees with Creon’s decision to deny Polynices a proper burial and is determined to bury him, disregarding Creon’s ruling. As the monarch, Creon represents human law and the power of kings, while Antigone represents divine law and the belief that the gods are in control and will punish anyone who defies them. At the conclusion of the play, both characters’ futures are doomed, but the original question of is was correct still remains. The play Antigone opens up with the dialogue of two sisters, Antigone and Ismene, with two completely different opinions. Antigone believes that as Polyneices' sisters, they are responsible for burying him properly, according to the god's rules. On the contrary, Ismene feels that they should not get involved, they are "women born, unapt to cope with men." (Sophacles, p.3) Antigone disregards this statement and still adamantly insists that they must bury him. She feels that by burying him, she will be following the gods, which is more important than following the ruler. As she says on page 3, “Loving and loved, I will lie by his (Polynices) side. Far longer is there need I satisfy those nether Powers, than powers on earth; for there for ever must I lie.” She believes that in afterlife she ... ... middle of paper ... ...e next king, however, he offers the crown to whoever can solve the riddle instead. When Oedipus solves the riddle, Creon willingly hands over the throne and Jocasta’s hand in marriage. This shows that Creon is not power hungry and truly wants what is best for the city. The reader can see that Creon is trustworthy and doesn’t go back on his word, which also supports why he needed to punish Polynices, even after he was given reason not to. Additionally, Creon was certain that nobody would disobey him, as we see on page 10, and was shocked to hear that somebody buried Polynices, as he says; “What say you? What man dared to do it?” Creon truly believed that everyone would comply, which explains why the punishment is so harsh. However, when Antigone performed the unseen, how could he go back on his word and be looked at as dishonest and biased towards family members?

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