Government Issues In Antigone

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“Antigone” is a Greek tragedy that was written by the playwriter Sophocles. It is the final play of a trilogy that also includes “Oedipus the King” and “Oedipus at Colonus”. Throughout the play there are many lessons to be learned but none are as important as the concept of the relationship between individuals and the state. The problems within the play that relate to this issue are as present within our society today as they were during Sophocles’ time. The lack of influence in government from its citizens leads to injustice and cruelty because the government is following their own agendas.
Antigone begins with the two brother Eteocles and Polynices killing each other, ending the civil war in Thebes. The new king, Creon, has declared that
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Without this cooperation between the government and its citizen a window opens for the leaders within that government to commit injustices against its people. Robert F. Kennedy stated, in his “Day of Affirmation” speech, that “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” This statement resonates with the theme of “Antigone” and reinstates the idea that citizens must contribute towards government decisions to influence policy and law. Without this interaction between government and individuals, as seen in the play “Antigone”, there are no checks or balances and the leaders can do what they please without the consent of its citizens. “Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard, to share in the decisions of government which shape men's lives. Everything that makes man's life worthwhile-family, work, education, a place to rear one's children and a place to rest one's head -all this depends on decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people.” (Kennedy 379). Citizens must not only speak up; they must also be heard by their government as well. Creon enacted a law that he felt was just however, he did not listen to Antigone when she was explaining why she had broken that law. If Creon would have listened to Antigone and taken into consideration the reasons for her unlawful actions, he would have saved himself and his nation from the wrath of the
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