The Ideologies of Antigone
When first reading Sophocles’ “Antigone,” one might just think of a family torn apart over a sister’s bad decision to defy the King. However, given a closer look much more is revealed throughout the play. Several of the principles explored in “Antigone” are rules and order, and determination.
The notion of rules and order are a focal theme throughout the play. “The central purpose is obviously the relation of the law which has its sanction in political authority and the law which has its sanction in the private conscience, the relation of the obligations imposed on human beings as citizens and members of the state, and the obligations imposed on them in the home and as members of families” (Collins). Creon, as the King, was attempting to fulfill his commitment as a ruler by issuing the edict to refuse Polyneices a proper burial. Creon believed in upholding the law and his right as the King to exercise his power. This becomes evident when he says, “These are my principles, at any rate, and that is why I have made the following decision concerning the sons of Oedipus: Eteocles, who died as a man should die, fighting for his country, is to buried with full military honors, with all the ceremony that is usual when the greatest heroes die; but his brother Polyneices, who broke his exile to come back with fire and sword against his native city and the shrines of his fathers’ gods, whose one idea was to spill the blood of his blood and sell his own people into slavery-Polyneices, I say, is to have no burial: no man is to touch him or say the least prayer for him; he shall lie on the plain, unburied; and the birds and the scavenging dogs can do with him whatever they like (Sophocles 1208). Even though Creon’s punishment for Polyneices was harsh, he felt justified in doing so because of his responsibility as King. Creon wanted to exert his authority and use Polyneices as an example so that his subjects would understand his devotion towards...
Cited: Collins, J.C. “The Ethics of Antigone.” TheatreHistory.com. Web. 10 Mar.2011
Sophocles “Antigone” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Writing. Eleventh Edition. 11th ed. New York: Pearson, 2010.
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