The Notions of Justice in The Republic and Antigone

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Within two classical works of philosophical literature, notions of justice are presented plainly. Plato’s The Republic and Sophocles’ Antigone both address elements of death, tyranny and immorality, morality, and societal roles. These topics are important elements when addressing justice, whether in the societal representation or personal representation. Antigone uses the concept of death in many ways when unfolding the tragic story of Antigone and her rebellion. The most obvious way is how death is used as a form of capital punishment and justice against state-dubbed criminals and wrongdoers. The play first exhibits this notion when Antigone states, “No passing humor, for the edict says who’er transgresses shall be stoned to death”…show more content…
Unlike in Antigone, Plato writes about man’s fear of death, and how that fear can be used against him. Socrates states, “Can any man be courageous who has the fear of death in him?” (Plato, Book 3). Socrates looks at the use of death for justice as something base because it reduces man to primitive behavior. In the previous quote, he specifically states that man cannot be functional when there is a looming fear of fatal justice hanging over one’s head. Although this notion of death as a tool for justice does not correlate with the notion of death in Antigone, both works view death as something justifying life. In The Republic, Cephalus addresses death as something man needs to enter with a clean conscience. He states, “It keeps him from having to leave life in the fear or owing debts to men or sacrifices to the gods,” (Plato, Book 1). While this quote also emphasizes Plato’s point that it is not just to use the fear of death for punishment, it also shows that death brings a complete closure and ultimate justification to all lives once ended. Tyranny and immorality are key notions presented in Antigone when referring to justice. In this play, Creon is presented to be a tyrannical and irrational ruler, while Antigone rejects this system and ultimate dies because of it. Creon views leadership in a selfish, immoral manner. When speaking to his son about his rule, he states, “The state is his who rules it, so ‘tis held”

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