Nomos vs. Physis in Sophocles’Antigone and the Modern World Essay

Nomos vs. Physis in Sophocles’Antigone and the Modern World Essay

Length: 832 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Nomos vs. Physis in Sophocles’Antigone and the Modern World


The Greek play, Antigone, written by Sophocles in the year 441 BCE, honors the Greek god of wine, Dionysus. It is hard to imagine that a play, written century ago for an imaginary god, would still be widely popular and have great significance in today's world. Using two main characters, Antigone and Creon, Sophocles creates a dialogue that examines two very different views of nomos (law) and physis (nature), the focal point of all Greek beliefs. These two terms were often the key in deciding what was considered right and wrong among the Greeks, and people still use nomos and physis in today's society centuries later. Throughout Antigone, Creon and Antigone use nomos and physis to defend their actions taken when Antigone breaks a law made by Creon, because she feels it impedes upon the unwritten laws of the gods, much like anti gay advocates defend their stance on protecting the sanctity of marriage, while gay activists oppose it because it violates their fundamental constitutional rights.

Using Creon and Antigone, Sophocles illustrates the way that nomos and physis support their opposing viewpoints. When Antigone's two brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, kill each other in battle, Creon, her uncle, succeeds to the throne. Once in power, he makes a law that no one can bury Polyneices because he was un-loyal to his native land. If anyone defied his new law by burying him, then the perpetrator would be killed and left unburied. However, Antigone felt that both of her brothers should have a proper burial, and disobeyed Creon's law by burying Polynneices knowing she would have to suffer the consequences. When brought before Creon, she defended her actions through phys...


... middle of paper ...


... constitution. They believe that the law should not decide who people can love, and that it is a persons right to marry whomever they want. Therefore, the terms nomos and physis are still used in today's society in similar ways to that of Creon and Antigone centuries ago.

Even though Antigone was written centuries ago, the basic principles of nomos and physis can still be applied in today's world. The way that the two terms are interpreted will vary from person to person, and there is no right or wrong answer. As long as there are controversial issues in the world, peoples opinions of nomos and physis will continue to evolve and change through time.

Works Cited

Sophocles. Antigone. Exploring Literature: Writing and thinking About Fiction,

Poetry, Drama, and the Essay. Ed. Joseph Terry. New York: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc, 2001. 123-154.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Hippocrates, The Father Of Modern Medicine Essay

- ... Then lastly, the scientist identifies the most significant factor in determining the health of an individual: water. Not only is his evidence of water prevalent, but his studies go into more depth with it than any other factor. With a thorough understanding of the relationship between water and culture, Hippocrates is able to classify the health and type of person in a region. For example, Hippocrates not only focuses on males, as he does with the wind and terrain, but the effect of water on different age groups: “…the younger men are liable to pneumonia and to madness....   [tags: Form of government, Government]

Better Essays
1206 words (3.4 pages)

Islamic Law & the Modern World Essay

- Islam is the religion of the Muslims. It is a religion that constitutes the total submission of the Muslim to God. During this submission, it brings about peace, serenity, love and above all, justice. Shari’ah is “a line of conduct, a morality laid down by the accounts of the Islamic religion. It is based on the Quran and on the views of the prophet” (Jelloun 100). It is a law that governs the believer’s conducts and lifestyle. It regulates the believer on what to do and what not to do. The severity of the law in some Islamic societies, however, has drawn criticism and has made people from other religious sects wary of the religion itself....   [tags: Islamic religion, Modern World]

Better Essays
2617 words (7.5 pages)

Essay on Is The Modern World?

- ... Our population are increasing at such a rate that we are exhausting our resources and will soon terminate this planet and our species all together. To understand how and why this will happen Mark breaks events into three categories Contingency, accident, and contingency) and explains we need to understand and look at the past from multiple ways not just a Eurocentric stand point. “The attention we give to contingency (past events that affect the future), accident (things humans have no control over), and conjuncture (individual events that eventually effect on another) means that our explanation of major developments in the making of the modern world will involve several causes, not...   [tags: Black Death, Bubonic plague, World population]

Better Essays
1123 words (3.2 pages)

The United States Developed The Modern World Essay

- “All is fair in love and war,” when John Lyly said this in the 1500’s he had already seen the Aztec fall to illness transferred by the immune Conquistadors and the Mongols crush almost all opposers. He realized whether the Europeans resistance to disease or the Mongols with their superior Calvary skills and organization on the battlefield, that usually the ones that adapted and created new ways to fight won because they had evolved to circumstance that required their survival. To fight with sustaining less casualties and superior skill, or in the case of the Conquistadors their superior genes that built a resistance to pathogens that ultimately helped to wipe out the indigenous population an...   [tags: World War II, Cold War, Mongol Empire, War]

Better Essays
1649 words (4.7 pages)

Essay about A Modern World Of The World State Director

- In a futuristic world where most of the world is run as a world -state Bernard is a member of the upper class who invites a girl Lenina, another member of his class, to join him to go to a Reservation for natives that are not part of their society. While at the Reservation, Lenina and Bernard see people who look like they have aged, which does not happen in their society because of the medicines they have. They also meet John, a man that was raised on the Reservation who Bernard learns is the son of the World State Director....   [tags: Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, The World State]

Better Essays
1136 words (3.2 pages)

Aristotelian Physics On Modern Science Essay

- ... Negative results are still results nonetheless. Theorizing and hypothesizing are at the heart of the scientific method and are imperative to the progression of science. Understanding how the universe works additionally entails understanding how the universe does not work. Amongst Aristotelian physics were the original theories of motion of the stars and of bodies on earth. Without Aristotle’s theory of motion of the bodies on earth, Galileo would not have written the Dialogue Containing the Two Chief World Systems in which he created the famous gedanken of the Ship Mast experiment, as well as a cursory glance of the scientific method, “I have been twice as good a philosopher as those ot...   [tags: Scientific method, Science, Theory, Physics]

Better Essays
1318 words (3.8 pages)

This Modern World Essays

- This Modern World Today’s world is very modern; we have television, computers, and a large variety of electronic devices, right at our finger tips. How are these modern marvels affecting society for the good or bad. Or does one have a worse affect on society than the other, for instance television verses internet. Both television and the internet have pros and cons. Television can be very educational, while also being a mind warping addiction. Same is the internet being a strong form of addiction but also being a great communication medium....   [tags: Article Review]

Better Essays
1520 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about Importance of Philosophy in the Modern World

- The Importance of Philosophy in the Modern World Many of the philosophers we have been reading in class seem to me to be hopelessly dated (although some of them express useful ideas and/or make good points). Of course, it's easy to become trapped in writing only for the period a person lives in, and a philosophy is necessarily dependant on the historical situation and the extent of man's knowledge. And many of the philosophers who have existed over the course of the centuries have necessarily had to worry about governmental, church, or societal disapproval, censorship, or punishment....   [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays]

Free Essays
630 words (1.8 pages)

Development of Modern World and Religion Essay example

- Development of Modern World and Religion Since the beginning of human existence, our ability to think and ask questions has led us to answer questions sometimes with uncertainty and doubt. Many natural occurrences that are today easily explained due to our technological advances were great mysteries to early societies. By not being able to answer their questions, many attributed storms, floods, heat and cold to acts of gods, which was a much more plausible explanation than not knowing at all....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
817 words (2.3 pages)

Modern World Essay

- Modern World The study of world history is very important to us as Americans because it is helps us understand who we are and what helped us to get where we are. Also it helps us understand who we are as a culture and where we come from. Many people are different and share their different point of views. People have different religions and different ways of living. With the different ways of living and different religions there is a lot of racism and ethnic violence in America today. I feel this a very important issue in the world today because we as Americans need to tie together and become as a team....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
1005 words (2.9 pages)