Antigone: Individual vs. State
The conflict between individual conscious and state law is something mankind has endured since the beginning of history. There have been many individuals that have stood by their beliefs and conscious against government law despite the repercussions. This conflict is one of the main struggles in Antigone, the Greek tragedy written by Sophocles. At the center of this tragedy is the battle between an individual’s moral duty and their duty to the state. The disharmony between the two is shown by Antigone’s duty to her family and moral law and Creon’s obligation or need to enforce the state law. Antigone and Creon’s contrary opinions express the theme of individual conscious versus government law. In the first scene, Antigone and Ismene, Daughters of Oedipus, are discussing weather or not their brother Polyneices should receive a proper burial. Ismene has conflicting opinions because the king of Thebes, Creon, declared that Polyneices does not deserve a proper burial. Creon declares that anyone who tries to bury Polyneices will be killed. Antigone is strong willed and knows that it is her moral duty to give her brother a proper burial despite of what Creon believes. Despite Creon’s threats, Antigone holds her duty to the gods and to her family to a higher standard than the duty she has to Creon and the state. Therefor, she addresses the situation in an altruistic and unselfish way and plans to take full responsibility for her actions. She decides to bury her brother with a proper burial in spite of Ismene’s cautious advice. After Antigone buries her brother, one of Creon’s guards finds her and explains to Creon what he saw. As reported by the sentry, “ She was not afraid, not even when we charged her with what she had done. She denied nothing…To escape from death.” Antigone’s strength shows that she truly believes she is doing the right thing by burring her brother and since the divine law was...
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