Choices That Mean Life or Death In Antigone

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Choices That Mean Life or Death In Antigone
The play Antigone was penned by Sophocles, a Greek writer, sometime in the late 440s B.C. This Greek tragedy uses a combination of literary elements in order to grab the reader’s attention. Two such elements are theme and conflict. Most importantly, Sophocles’s Antigone deals with themes, such as the conflict of family versus state, the conflict of individual versus government, and the conflict of human versus divine laws, that are still very prevalent in modern human societies (Nardo 16).
The play, Antigone, has several primary themes. It raises the question: “Which laws are paramount and most binding– human or divine laws?”(16).
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Creon shows that he puts the state above his own blood relatives when he says “The eyes of the nation are on me. I must stay true to my principles. I must execute her. I don’t give a damn for all her talk about family ties. If I allow my own relations to get out of control, that gives the cue to everybody else” (Sophocles 17). Creon does not save Antigone first because he has just been warned of the grave danger to the whole state and to his family from the anger with which the gods view his treatment of Polynices body. The community, even the other persons in Creon’s family, were more important than just Antigone alone
(Norwood 63).
The conflict of human laws versus divine laws is also a very dominant theme in
Antigone. Critic Edith Hall put it very well when she said: “The very first law which
Creon passes– that the body of the traitor Polynices is to be refused burial– is in direct contravention of the ‘Unwritten Law’ protecting the rights of the dead...” (56). Creon’s justification for his act is that the dead man was a traitor to his own city and would have destroyed the State as it was known at that time (Norwood 60). The chorus in the play seem s to be uneasy about Creon’s edict not to bury Polynices, but they do not dare defy the law. They seem pleased when they find out that Polynices has had some type of burial, even suggesting that maybe it was the work

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