Sophocles: Family vs. Law

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Sophocles: Family vs. Law

Family, an important theme of life, gets expressed throughout many ways in society. Family may take precedence over many things, including authority and the law. Within the tragic play, Antigone, the author Sophocles presents situations where the characters have to choose between their family and the law. The characters must choose what is more important to them, their family or obeying the laws of Thebes. Throughout the play, Sophocles presents a strong theme of family values and the importance of it through the actions of Antigone, Creon and Haimon. Antigone, placed in many situations throughout the play, has to choose between her family and the law. Antigone chooses to honor her brother, Polyneces, by burying him even though she will break the law by doing so. Antigone asks her sister Ismene to help bury their beloved brother, but when Ismene says no, Antigone responds by saying, “But as for/ me/ I will bury the brother I love” (Prolouge.192). Antigone chooses to honor her brother and risk breaking the law because family means more to her. Antigone puts her family first, presenting her as a selfless person. Along with the risk of breaking the law, Antigone also risks her death. Once Creon tells Antigone of her punishment after finding out she buries Polyneces, she has to decide whether or not burying her brother is worth it. After Creon tells Antigone of his plan for her, she says, “This death of mine/ is of no importance; but if I had left my brother/ lying in death unburied, I should have suffered. / Now I do not” (SceneII.208). Antigone shows Creon that he cannot stop her from saving her family by trying to punish her with death. Antigone chooses to help her family and stand up for them, even when faced with death. Sophocles shows Antigone as a brave person by denouncing Creon’s rules and saving her brother. Through Antigone’s actions, Sophocles shows how he favors family over authority and the law. Sophocles...