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Religion vs. State in “Antigone"

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The play “Antigone” is a tragedy by Sophocles. One main theme of the play is Religion vs. the state. This theme is seen throughout the play. Antigone is the supporter of religion and following the laws of the gods and the king of Thebes, Creon, is the state. In the play Creon has made it against the law to bury Antigone’s brother, something that goes against the laws of the gods, this is the cause of most conflict in the story. This struggle helps to develop the tragic form by giving the reader parts of the form through different characters.

In the play Creon goes against the Gods by making it illegal to bury Polyneices, Antigone’s brother because he is deemed a traitor. The burying of a dead body is seen as a necessity by all of Greece as it is an unspoken law of the Gods. Antigone goes to bury her brother so his afterlife will be better. She does it in spite of the law that Creon has made. “It is the dead, not the living, who make the longest demands” (192) She tries to explain to her sister, Ismene, that they must bury Polyneices, but even that close relationship has trouble because of the law. Ismene is unwilling to suffer the consequences of the law, to save her brother’s soul “Forgive me but I am helpless: I must yield to those in authority” (192) Even the two sisters who have just lost both of their brothers have different views on the matter. One will not stray from the law and what is deemed right by their king, while the other will accept any punishment, even death just to do what she believes is right.

After burying her brother, Antigone is caught, and is seems that the state is more powerful than the gods for a time. “And yet you dared defy the law.” (208) Creon thinks that his law is all-powerful and ...

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... last, in death. Having hearing this news Eurydice, Creon’s wife kills herself; her last words were a curse on Creon for causing so much wrong in his life. Creon goes to pray for his mistakes to the gods, but they do not listen anymore. Choragos tells him “Then do not pray anymore: the sky is deaf” (244)

Religion vs. the state is a main theme in “Antigone” by Sophocles. The theme is swiped throughout the play and causes much conflict between most of the characters. This conflict help’s the play move through the tragic form and touch all parts of it. Creon goes through the tragedy, by losing all of his family and not being able to die with them. Also the gods are done listening to him. The state, Creon, has failed ad the gods have come out o top once again “There is no happiness where there is no wisdom; no wisdom but in submission to the gods.” (245)
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