Examples Of Family Loyalty In Antigone

Topics: The Metamorphosis, Family, Law, Sophocles, Sibling / Pages: 8 (1923 words) / Published: Mar 29th, 2017
In his play Antigone, Sophocles presents the conflict of choosing between family loyalty and obeying the law of the land. The playwright clearly believes that loyalty to one’s family trumps listening to the law and it shines through as the right choice. In the novella “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, there is a lack of family loyalty shown towards the protagonist, Gregor Samsa, who has shown immense allegiance to his parents and sister. In Antigone, several of the characters are loyal either to the law of the land or to their family, while some start off loyal to one and transition throughout the play. Kreon, king of Thebes made a law stating that Polynices could not be buried because of his act against the king. Antigone clearly values family …show more content…
While his family is important to him, Kreon places more value on obeying the law than on doing what is best for his family. His ethics are shown when he is willing to kill Antigone, the woman his son loves, because she went against his edict. Rather than pardon her and allow his son to be happy, Kreon remains faithful to the letter of the law and punishes Antigone. Kreon, Ismene, and the seer Koryphaios are having a conversation and the seer attempts to dissuade Kreon from killing his son’s love. Ismene says, “‘It is Haimon you cast aside when you say that./ Don't you love your son? Can you deprive him?’/ ‘No. Death will stop that wedding./ And this is the end:/ I’m sick of you and this marriage business.’” (Sophocles 44) Ismene is in disbelief, questioning how Kreon could be disloyal to his son to such an extent as to take away his love. In spite of all this, Kreon still intends to go through with the killing of Antigone. While the king loves his son, Haimon, he is not willing to go against his own law to ensure his son’s happiness. This in direct contrast with Antigone, who was willing to go against the law for the sake of her brother. Kreon on the other hand, is only loyal to his family when the law does not force him to be …show more content…
In the play, several of the characters offer a different perspective on how far loyalty to one’s family should extend. Antigone represents family loyalty to the strongest degree, being loyal to her brother despite an edict. Nothing prevents her from showing her loyalty and she will do anything for her family. In contrast, Kreon was supportive of his family up until the law prevented him from making his family happy. He was willing to kill the woman his son loved because she broke the law rather than retract the edict. Both Kreon and Antigone are representative of the two extremes in the conflict between family loyalty and obeying laws. Ismene makes a transition between the two extremes throughout the play, at first being hesitant to help bury her brother because of the edict and then at the end ready to do anything to assist Antigone. She goes from valuing the law over family to putting family above all else, just as her sister. Contrastly, in the “Metamorphosis” transition in the other direction, being loyal to Gregor at the beginning but abandoning him at the end of the novella. Through the transition that Ismene makes in Antigone, Sophocles shows that it is better to be loyal to one’s family even if that means going against the law of the land. In “Metamorphosis”, the transition that the family goes through makes it seem as though one should abandon their family if they are being weighed

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