Essay on Moral Conflict in Antigone

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The major moral conflict in Antigone by Sophocles is the conflict over which value is most fundamental. The play presents the moral conflict over whether the god's law or the city's law is more powerful. This seems to be the most prominent theme. The conflict arises mainly between the tragic heroes Antigone and her uncle-in-law Creon, King of Thebes. The city of Thebes had been through a war in which Antigone and her sister Ismene have lost both of their brothers to it, Eteocles and Polyneices. Eteocles's fighting for Thebes was buried and honored as a hero. (lines 24-26) Polyneices was left unburied and dishonored because he is considered an enemy of the city. (lines 27-32) Creon edicts that whoever broke the law by burying …show more content…
(line 89)

When a messenger comes to Creon, bringing the news that Antigone has buried her brother, he begins his arguments why Antigone has broken the law. He begins by stating that a man shows what he is made of by his "skill in rule and law." In other words, the law is everything and as a ruler, he must do everything for his country. He considers Polyneices an enemy of the city and a threat to the security of the city as well. Thus Polyneices will be called a traitor in life and in death and dishonored. The scene when Antigone and Creon face each other is the opportunity for both to defend themselves. Creon questions Antigone. She bases her responses on that the city laws proclaiming her as illegal are not the laws of Zeus or laws proclaimed by gods, but rather, laws made by a man that one day will also die. She will honor her brother's death because this is what the gods have proclaimed for all mankind. (lines 460-463)

In the dialogue between Creon and Antigone she also defends herself when he questions her as to why an enemy should be honored. She responds by saying she loved her brothers and her family, and they are not her enemies. Creon also asked Antigone why she was the only one defying him. She answers him by saying that there are many others who do not speak out because they fear him. (lines 508-509) Antigone offers one last argument in stating that she loves her family and will welcome death because she
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