The Importance Of Religious Obligations Illustrated In Sophocles' Antigone

584 words - 2 pages

In the play Antigone by Sophocles, one of the main characters, Antigone, has to choose to obey the law or obey her religious obligations. Creon, the king of Thebes, issued and edict that said that Antigone’s brother, Polyneikes, could not be buried. Antigone felt that she should not leave her brother to be devoured by vultures and insisted on burying him. Because Polyneikes had rebelled against the state, one of the greatest offenses of the time, burying his body meant death for Antigone as well as her sister. This law of Creon’s was very important to the state obligations and it could not be disobeyed, but Antigone felt that “a higher law compelled her to bury her brother.”
This higher law was the concerning of the private conscience of Antigone. She knew that no obligation was more important to her then being respectful to her brother. To her this meant even death itself would not stop her from burying her brother. According to the religious obligations of the time someone could defy the law for something of this nature because one has dignity. Antigone believed that her brother deserved a peaceful life in the afterworld so she disobeyed the law and followed her conscience. Antigone was taken to trial with the king and readily admits to the wrong-doing. She said, “Yes [I have dared to disobey the law]. For this law was not proclaimed by Zeus, or by the gods who rule the world below. I do not think your edicts have such power that they can override the laws of heaven.” In this statement Antigone affirms that her religious duties overpower the obligations to the state.
Throughout the plot of the play, the Greek’s attitude towards their obligations for...

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