Antigone vs. Kreon- "Nomos" vs. "Written Laws"
Antigone is a play written in 442 B.C. (hypothetical) by the noted Greek playwright Sophocles. In the play Sophocles deals with issues such as the relationship between males and females and the state as well as the position of women in society. He uses Antigone to represent obligation to family and the gods while Kreon represents obligation of the "written laws" of the state. I think that if the context of the play is taken into consideration then Antigone's actions were justified as she was only fulfilling her duty while Kreon was just trying to assert his dominance early in his rule.
The city Thebes has just recovered from a civil war during which two brothers Eteokles and Polyneces fought against each other to see who would become king and rule the city. After they were killed Kreon became king and he declared that Eteokles would be given a proper burial but Polyneces would not be honoured as he was considered to be a traitor. It was this action that prompted Antigone to confront her sister in the opening lines of the play. On being ignored by Ismene she says, "Yes, bury my own brother-and yours too-if you're not willing. I will not be caught in treachery" (Sophocles, Antigone, p. 21). Through this we can see that according to Antigone treachery would not mean betraying Kreon but betraying her brother Polyneces. It seems as if she has a stronger connection to the natural laws that govern the people rather than Kreon's laws that govern the state. A woman's role in Ancient Greece was to serve her family and the gods. She is arguably right in burying her brother as she was only fulfilling her duties as a sister.
When Antigone is confronted by Kreon she says that, "[she didn't think that his] proclamations had such strength that, mortal as [he was he] could outrun those laws that are gods', unwritten and unshakable" (Sophocles, Antigone, p. 38). Here once again we can see Antigone's resistance to accept the...
Cited: Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Ruby Blondell (Newburyport: 1998)
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