Divine Law versus Human Law Essay

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Divine Law versus Human Law

Sophocles' famous play, Antigone, can be perceived as a conflict between individual conscience and state policy. Yet the issue of the play goes beyond that conflict and touches the universal conditions of suffering, religion, and loyalty. Through Antigone's character--which represents the spheres of family loyalty, divine law, and human suffering, Sophocles conveys the idea that a law of man that violates religious law is not a law at all. He expresses this idea by having Antigone dutifully bury her brother's body although it is against King Kreon's ruling. Antigone's action is not only an act of family loyalty but is an act of piety demanded by the gods. The play commences with Antigone announcing her
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Suffering is a universal condition that the characters in the play must deal with. Since the day Polyneices and Eteokles died, Ismene suffers by not being capable of having emotions. She says to Antigone: "Nothing makes me happy, nothing hurts me anymore" (Sophocles 22). The loss of loved ones can cause one to suffer but to not honor those who died can cause a vast amount of distress. Because Eteokles was honorably buried and Polyneices was not, Antigone suffered for her brother; the guilt built every second he remained unburied. She does not regret burying her brother by saying, "But if I had let my own brother stay unburied/I would have suffered all the pain I do not feel now" (Sophocles 572-3). She would rather bury her brother and go against the state than live her life in pain. She is independent in her decision because she would is willing to suffer her own death so she won't suffer her brother's death any longer: "I'm ready to suffer for it and to die./Let me. No suffering could be so terrible as to die for nothing" (Sophocles 120-3). She is conveying that no matter what, she will suffer. If she does nothing for her brother she will suffer and if she does, she will suffer the death penalty. It is better, she concludes, to suffer and die out of loyalty to her own family. Although Ismene reminds Antigone of how their family's name

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