The Conflict of Political and Natural Law in Antigone

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The Conflict over Political and Natural Law In Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone there are many major political conflicts present. Some of these include the role of women in politics, claims of justice versus claims of the family, individualism versus patriotism, the state versus religion, and obligation to the versus the obligation to ones conscience among others. But the conflict I have chosen to examine is that of the law of the gods or natural law versus the law of humans or the political law. In order to do this I will be focusing on three sections of argument: what occurs in Antigone to prompt this conflict, how Plato would react to and resolve this conflict, and finally how I would evaluate this conflict and work to decipher which approach leads to the best resolution. The context that leads up to the major conflict in Antigone is that after Thebes’ ruler Oedipus is dead his two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, gain the crown. Initially the two brothers agree to alternate governance of Thebes but this quickly changes when Polyneices is denied his time on the throne by Eteocles. Polyneices returns with an army, of which he accumulated from Thebes’ enemy Argos, and the two sides clash outside of the seven gates of the city. Thebes remained victorious but the two brothers were each impaled by the others spear. (From Paul Woodruff’s notes of lines 14-15 on the bottom of page 3). What followed this was their uncle, Creon, becoming the new ruler of Thebes “because I am closest to kin to those who died” (Antigone 174). When thrust into power Creon makes it clear that he will be unwavering about his policies, this is because he believes the he is the only one who can ensure this cities safety and “raise this city high” (Antigone 191). This decree is very controversial because it rejects the norms and traditions of Greek society that were very careful to follow the laws of the gods. He puts this suggestion into action when he chooses to give Eteocles an honorable

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