The search for justice is never ending. Justice may be delayed, denied, or postponed, however, the search is timeless. To be just is to argue for fair rights for all. It is to be someone that will help the people of the community. However, many times justice is not sought and not given to those who need it most. In the play Antigone by Sophocles, he demonstrates the many ways an unjust leader can overpower those who fight for what is right (Adams 1). In Antigone’s case, she fought for the just treatment of her brother in his afterlife and for giving him a proper burial. In her fight for justice, Antigone exhibits strong beliefs of fairness to her community regarding family, rights and morality in her battle against a seemingly unjust leader, Kreon.
Civil Disobedience Martin Luther King once stated in "The Letter from Birmingham Jail", "Any individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment to arouse the conscience of the community over it injustice is in reality, expressing the highest respect for the law" (King 411). King meant that, if anyone feels a law is unjust and needed to expose its injustice, should willingly accept any penalty that comes in their way to help arouse people 's conscience in changing that law. In “The Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King explains the four powerful steps of the nonviolent campaign he used to protest against racial injustice for African-Americans
According to Antigone, her brother Polyneices deserves equal treatment and burial just like Eteocles had. Antigone is openly honest when she says, “ Ismene, I am going to bury him” (Sophocles 191). Antigone has disregarded Creon’s rules and thinks the law is merely a suggestion. Antigone, however, is aware that crossing Creon will possibly ruin her reputation or get her killed, yet she is determined to carry out her plan.
In Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone, a woman’s individual conscience trumps state law when Antigone displays time and again that she values her divine motives higher than those of the state throughout the tragedy. Her continued defiance of the state’s authority marks the importance of her individuality through various scenes in Antigone. Knowing full well her role as a woman in a patriarchal society, Antigone goes beyond the powers of the common man to carry on morals of herself and family exceeding beyond immortality and death. Engulfed in the menacing misogyny King Creon set forth in the state, Antigone is determined to thrive and keep the sacred deeds of herself and family in tact despite the fate it bears. The character of Antigone exhibits
Oedipus the King of Thebes stepped down from his throne and gave the kingdom to his two sons Polyneices and Eteocles. Each son would alternate every year but after the first year Eteocles refused to step down, drove his brother out to Argos. Polyneices wanted to rebel and attack his home city of Thebes to claim his throne. Eteocles resolves to fight his brother in combat and both end up killing each other. Creon the uncle of Antigone claims the throne and believe that Eteocles should be buried while Polyneices should be left to be fed on my dogs and birds. Antigone fights for what she believes in morally right. Even though Polyneices goes against his brother and people, religious law is more important than man-made law because Antigone is showing her loyalty to the gods, Creon is creating rules to show he is the one in power, and Antigone believes that she should follow the religious law requiring that women bury the deceased.
In ancient Greece, a common saying that all citizens had in their very core, a traditional Greek principle, was this: love your friends, and hate your enemies. This rule seems pretty straightforward and would appear easy to apply in real life. However, in the timeless play Antigone, Sophocles shows his audience a situation where this maxim does not apply. Sophocles concentrates on a complex story where the values and principles of the ancient Greek culture come into conflict. Religious or moral versus secular, family versus community, and living versus dead: all of these conflicting aspects are explored in Antigone. The drama Antigone places the culture of Greece on display by showcasing the many values that this culture held in reverence, including remaining loyal to family, honoring the dead, and honoring the gods.
Laws have maintained the order and stability of society from old days of ancient civilization to today’s contemporary society. As law-abiding citizens, we allow the laws to be enforced through punishments and consequences; however, when these laws threaten ethical values and justice, they are challenged in a non-violent method known as “civil disobedience.” In Sophocles’ Antigone, Antigone challenged the political authority of Creon in a defiant act that related the struggles between her duty as a citizen of Thebes and her loyalty to her family. In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” written by Martin Luther King, Jr., King protests racial injustices and systemic racism throughout the South and laments the need for civil disobedience to be used
Antigone being the one to fight for her beliefs and obeying the god's laws attempts the burial of Polyneices and goes against Creon’s law to prove to him that he’s in over his head that he has too much pride in himself, in lines 15-35 Antigone claims that she is going to go
Worse, the body of a traitor is left to rot above ground as food for scavengers. Creon’s law conflicts with Antigone’s loyalty to the gods. She believes the laws of the gods respect the dead and require a proper burial. She does not hesitate to ignore the law of the state and fulfill the laws of the gods. When she turns to her sister, Ismene, to bury their brother, Polyneices, Ismene’s fear consumes her.
Antigone believes she should have the right of her brother’s burial. Creon states, “No one shall burry him, no one mourn for him” (Sophocles 2) illustrating that Polyneicis is irrelevant in the city of Thebes. The law in Greek society is a female should not have power or freedom over any circumstance. Antigone demands rights over her brother and will not accept
Antigone uses both logical and emotional appeals to persuade her sister Ismene that their brother Polyneices should be honored and have a proper burial. During an argument between Antigone and Ismene, Ismene believes that the law should be obeyed therefore she will not help Antigone. Antigone states, “Polyneices, who fought as bravely and died as miserably…no one shall bury him, no one mourn for him… his body must lie in the fields (Sophocles et al.190).” Antigone is trying to communicate to Ismene through the use of an emotional and logical appeal by explaining that he was, left to be decomposed by the birds. In the Greek culture, having a burial is a civic and religious duty which is necessary to proceed to the afterlife unaffected.
Antigone wants a proper burial for her deceased brother, Polyneices, but is prohibited to bury him due to a new decree established by her uncle, also known as King Creon. The late king Oedipus, who was Antigone's father, also had another son, named Eurydice. Antigone, being the defining and strong woman she is, does not care and possesses an indifferent attitude towards rules that go against what she believes is fair and just, in which burying her brother is no exception. With an indifferent attitude, she zealously accepted the punishment to be hers as she confessed to entombing Polyneices, and stated that Creon's edict had no effect on her to follow, since the "unwritten immortal laws of the gods" were the only significant ones to her. The streak of defiance in Antigone can be interpereted as both a blessing and a curse to her character's being, hence, without it, she would not have buried Polyneices.
As Antigone said when Creon asked her if she has heard of his edict, “It was public. Could I help hearing it?” (708). This tells us that Antigone knew that what she was doing was illegal and yet she still chose to bury Polyneices no matter the consequences for her. On the other hand, you could say that even though Antigone knew what she was doing was wrong, she did it because she knew that it was the right thing to do.
The ritual of burying a family member was important to ancient greek culture. The gods from the greek religion are the ones who said that the burial must happen or else the deceased would be stuck halfway to the underworld. Antigone’s family history had not been the best up until the point of her brothers’ deaths. In the book it was stated that Antigone felt very strongly about burying her brother no matter what Creon said. In the text after the play it is written by senior editor Paul Moliken that “When Creon Forbids the burial of Polyneices, he is denying Antigone the opportunity to perform one of the most significant duties that Greek society allowed for women.
She was outraged when she found out that her brother Polyneices was going to be left to rot and be eaten by animals, because he was a traitor to the city. Antigone believed that her brother deserved a proper burial even though he tried going against the city unlike her other brother Eteocles. She asks Ismene (her sister) to join her in this act of rebellion but Ismene does not want to get in trouble for going against her kings orders so Antigone does it on her own. Creon feels disrespected and punishes Antigone for not following his rules. He seals Antigone while she is alive, inside a tomb.