Individual Vs. Society; Antigone

Topics: Oedipus, Sophocles, Morality Pages: 3 (877 words) Published: March 15, 2014
Structure is needed for a society to thrive. Without it, people would do anything they pleased, with little consideration or concern for others. Structure, usually in the form of laws created by a person of power, is what keeps a group of people together, and allows for peaceful order between these individuals. Laws, however, can sometimes be corrupted by the one that is governing them. Although these laws may go against what is good for the people, fear can often times effect the way a population behaves. There are also times when someone stands up against the unmoral laws set by a powerful government, making logical arguments against them, and sparking positive change in a society. Whether through the power of fear or the expression of reason, it is usually the voice of an individual that influences the thoughts and actions of an entire society.

Good examples of the power of a single person on a large group are seen throughout the Sophocles play Antigone. Two characters that influence the actions of the other characters are Creon, the newly appointed king of Thebes, and his niece Antigone. The conflict that unfolds between these two begins with the death of Antigone’s two brothers. One brother, Eteocles, dies defending Thebes and for that reason he is given a proper burial. Polynices, on the other hand, dies a betrayer to the city, and was kept unburied, left to be consumed by the elements and animals of the city. Creon did not believe a traitor such as Polynices deserved the same treatment as his honorable brother. He states that, “Never at [his] hands [would] the traitor by honored above the patriot.” (Line 231-232). He makes a law forbidding anyone from laying Polynices to rest. He says that the price for anyone who breaks this law is death. When a sentry enters the play to tell the king that someone has attempted to bury Polynices, Creon shows his power over his people by threatening the sentry. Although the sentry tells him he had nothing to do with...
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