Compare and contrast the part that the city or state (polis) plays in Antigone and Oedipus The King.
Antigone is a play about the tension caused when two individuals have conflicting claims regarding law. In this case, the moral superiority of the laws of the city, represented by Creon, and the laws of the gods, represented bt Antigone. In contrast, Oedipus The King is driven by the tensions within Oedipus himself. That play both begins and concludes within the public domain, the plot being driven by the plague that troubles the city, and which is so graphically brought to life by the Priest. In both Antigone (ll179-82) and Oedipus The King (ll29-31) the city is likened to a storm tossed ship, and it cannot be merely coincidence that Oedipus The King was written at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, a time when Athens itself was suffering the effects of plague. Oedipus The King reaches its climax with a now blinded Oedipus daring to show himself to the people of Thebes, forgetting that he is no longer the leader of the state. In Antigone, it is Creons abuse of absolute power that leads to his tragic downfall. Whilst Oedipus determinedly tried to get to the root of his peoples ills, ultimately discovering that he was in fact the cause of them, Creon morphs from a supposedly caring leader into a tyrannical despot, eager to take the law into his own hands. It is the actions of Antigone that helps to bring about Creons fall from grace, as her steadfast refusal to accept the law of the city over the rule of the gods exposes the true motives of Creon, and leads to both her own death but also to the end of Creons world. He claims to favour the interests of the city over all but then shows his true colours by both acting and ranting like a tyrant. Antigone is steadfast and determined in her aim - she fully believes that the rule of god must take precedence in this matter regarding death, as well as revealing her belief that it is the family that is more...
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