Moral Beliefs Discussed in Sophocles' Antigone and Western Philosophy by David Papineau

Moral Beliefs Discussed in Sophocles' Antigone and Western Philosophy by David Papineau

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Imagine someone in your family just dieda member you are very close to. This relative of yours is hated by your entire family because they thought this person displayed selfish and duplicitous behavior. Instead of sympathizing for their relative’s loss, they express feeling of antipathy, wishing the worst for this person in the afterlife and expecting you to do the same. You want to honor your loved one’s memory by throwing a memorial service, but your family forbids it and threatens to cut all ties with you if you choose to do so. Given this difficult situation, what do you feel is the right thing to do? Sophocles attempts to approach these issues of right and wrong and human morality through the characters in his play Antigone. Since there are many different takes on moral obligations and they alter between different principles of religion, civic duty, family commitment and commitment to loved ones, we learn there is no right or wrong behavior, just what we believe in our own minds to be justifiable or what is favored by society at the time.
So what exactly is morality and why does it pose such a complicated question? In the book Western Philosophy by David Papineau, it discusses the many different approaches to moral beliefs. Illustrious philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle’s take on morality are one’s personal behavior and set of inner values. Morals can also derive from a social standpoint, where the popular belief rules over all others; if most believe it to be true, then it must present itself as being true. But as stated in the book, even these interpretations can be “very narrow view[s]” (134). Morality also stems from a religious standpoint. Religion has perhaps had the biggest impact on people’s lives and the way ...


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...erent moral understandings. This often happens when a person holds strong to what they cherish, whether it be family, religion, laws, or loved ones. There is reasoning behind everything we do. Maybe our actions do not appear righteous to others, but in our own minds, we are heroes. Who cares if everyone else fails to see it?



Works Cited
Antigone. Dir. Yorgos Javellas. Prod. Demetrios Paris. By Yorgos Javellas. Perf. Irene Papas and Manos Katrakis. Kino Video, 1961. DVD.
Kruger, Chaddie. "Winning Mount Olympus." Calliope 23.3 (2012): 2. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.
Papineau, David. Western Philosophy: An Illustrated Guide. London: Oxford UP, 2004. Print.
Walker, Kathryn. "Between individual principles and communal obligation: ethical duty in Sophocles's Antigone." Mosaic [Winnipeg] 41.3 (2008): 199+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.

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