Athenian Attitudes Toward The Authority Of State Through The Eyes Of Plato And Sophocles

1662 Words Sep 11th, 2016 7 Pages
Athenian Attitudes Toward the Authority of State Through the Eyes of Plato and Sophocles

The first evidence of democracy, government in which the citizens had a say in the rulings, was discovered in Ancient Athens. However, the direct democratic system seemed so successful that it overshadowed the Athenian’s views towards the power of their government. Through close examination of the writings of Sophocles and Plato, one can discover the that the Athenian’s thoughts regarding the governing power, evolved during Classical Athens’s 200 year span. Although at a glance the government of Ancient Athens did not seem to progress much during it’s time, a deeper look at Sophocles’ Antigone, written in 441 BCE, and Plato’s Crito, written in 360 BCE, reveal that the Athenian attitudes toward the authority of the state appeared to evolve even within eighty years.
While Antigone and Crito, are two distinct works, they both tell stories of disobedience to the authority within the society. Sophocles tells a tale of Antigone, a young woman who breaks the King’s, Creon’s, new law that prohibits the burial of her deceased brother because he was fighting against his own city. On the other hand, Plato’s dialogue tells of Crito, who is willing to break the law of the state so he can rescue his friend, Socrates, from a death sentence. The air of rebellion throughout both works brings into focus the dissatisfaction that the Athenian citizens seem to have had with the people in governmental power.…
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