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The conflict between obeying human and divine law in sochocles play antigone

PDF Assinalar este documento 1 G. What must be done is to make productive the great middle ground between A. We are all in the same leaky boat. No approach to Sophocles is more important than through his religion. Whatever interpretation is given to any single aspect of his work, his art or his personality, none will hold good unless it is fully aware of the fundamental fact that Sophocles had a vision of life which we call religious.

  1. Finally Creon is left to face the tragic consequences of his own fatal decisions.
  2. In turn, Creon accuses Antigone of impiety towards Eteocles because she has buried Polynices cf. Death and Love, Had...
  3. Thus, Sophocles' in Antigone emphasizes the interaction between the will of the gods and will of human beings often putting the truths of men and women against the truth of gods. A Further Point in the Interpretation of Sophocl...
  4. We can't discard religion as religion provides stability in human life. Do you be the kind of person you have decided to be, but I shall bury him!
  5. Our emphasis 31 Cf. A Further Point in the Interpretation of Sophocl...

Death and Love, Had. Antigone, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999, 47 n. Sophocles scholars have interpreted the Antigone as a play about a conflict between the human and the divine, the state and the individual, the public and the private, secular and religious morals, and so on. Like many other interpreters of the Antigone, 5 we argue that this Sophoclean tragedy tells of a conflict, although not one between the human and the divine but rather between two different ways in which the human relates to and tries to embody the divine.

So while other commentators try to understand the conflict in the Antigone using a logic of simplicity, according to which the conflict is between a purely human pole and a purely divine pole, we will try to interpret the conflict from a logic of complexity; according to this each of the two conflicting poles already involves a certain mixture of the human with the divine. Do you be the kind of person you have decided to be, but I shall bury him! It is honourable for me to do this and die.

I am his own and I shall lie with him who is my own, having committed a crime that is holy, for there will be a longer span of time for me to please those below than there will be to please those here; for there I shall lie forever. As for you, if it is your pleasure, dishonour what the gods honour! The ancestral custom of burying the dead members of a family in their home soil is founded on a deep religious understanding of the world as a whole and the affective relationships within a family.

In 178-91 Creon speaks as follows: Yes, to me anyone who while guiding the whole city fails to set his hand to the best counsels, but keeps his mouth shut by reason of some fear seems now and has always seemed the worst of men; and him who rates a dear one higher than his native land, him I put nowhere.

  • According to her, human beings, themselves, are imperfect, so the laws made by the king are also imperfect; only the laws made by God are perfect;
  • Do not wear the garment of one mood only, thinking that your opinion and no other must be right!
  • Even if she breaks the law of the state, she must answer for what she regards as a higher law.

I would never be silent, may Zeus who sees all things for ever know it, when I saw ruin coming upon the citizens instead of safety, nor would I make a friend of the enemy of my country, knowing that this is the ship that preserves us, and that this is the ship on which we sail and only while she prospers can we make our friends.

These are the rules by which I make our city great. Our emphasis 19 See his invocation of Zeus in 184. We have already pointed out that it is a religious conflict in other terms, a conflict between two forms of relationship between the human and the divine ; but now we can determine more accurately the contours of this religious conflict. In this sense, the conflict between Antigone and Creon amounts to a conflict between two forms of relationship to two different gods more precisely between a form of relationship to Zeus and a form of relationship to Hades.

Instead, we mean that each one of the protagonists has a different conception of the role of each one of the deities in the resolution of the conflict regarding the burial of Polynices. However, we have yet to explain how and why the two protagonists are in conflict with one another.

One thing is already clear from what we have seen up to this point, namely that the conflict between Antigone and Creon centres on the question of what the right religious stance regarding the burial of Polynices is. Now, one of the main factors causing the conflict over the burial of Polynices is that the positions of both protagonists are characterized by their boldness and insolence.

The text of the Antigone points to this the conflict between obeying human and divine law in sochocles play antigone plainly in relation to both Antigone and Creon. This girl knew well how to be insolent then, transgressing the established laws; and after her action, this was a second insolence, to exult in this and to laugh at the thought of having done it. Do not wear the garment of one mood only, thinking that your opinion and no other must be right! For whoever think that they themselves alone have sense, or have a power of speech or an intelligence that no other has, these people when they are laid open are found to be empty.

It is not shameful for a man, even if he is wise, often to learn things and not to resist excessively. Our emphasis 30 Cf. As we have seen, this mutual disavowal has a religious character, for each one of the protagonists wants to deny the legitimacy of the relationship that the other has established to divinity to the extent that it is this relationship that is the basis of their opposing behaviours.

For these have life, not simply today and yesterday, but forever, and no one knows how long ago they were revealed. Polynices] a grace which is impious towards him [sc. Our emphasis 31 Cf. Indeed, Antigone says the edict proclaimed by Creon does not derive from Justice inhabitant of the underworld 31 or from Zeus the ruler of the world above the ground. Antigone maintains that the truly divine laws or customs the unwritten and eternal laws or customs 33 are those according to which the dead — especially the dead in the family — must be given funeral rites.

In turn, Creon accuses Antigone of impiety towards Eteocles because she has buried Polynices cf. However, in essence, both forms of disavowal are similar in that each one of them claims that the relationship to the divine it is grounded on is more truly religious.

  1. These are the rules by which I make our city great. Antigone maintains that the truly divine laws or customs the unwritten and eternal laws or customs 33 are those according to which the dead — especially the dead in the family — must be given funeral rites.
  2. Instead, we mean that each one of the protagonists has a different conception of the role of each one of the deities in the resolution of the conflict regarding the burial of Polynices.
  3. However, we have yet to explain how and why the two protagonists are in conflict with one another.
  4. Polynices] a grace which is impious towards him [sc.

As we have suggested just now, in order for each protagonist to try to disavow the other, they must have the conviction that their religious point of view is the more correct one. The passages in the Antigone where mutual accusations of madness occur between the protagonists of the play are absolutely crucial for us here; they allow us to perceive not only a further development of the mutual disavowal between Antigone and Creon but also the fact that both protagonists claim to have the correct relationship with the divine one which rests on their ability to see things as they really are.

The lines now quoted, although spoken by Antigone, are enough to prove that the accusation of folly is mutual; in any case, in 561-2 Creon accuses Antigone — and also Ismene, though in a weaker fashion — of being mad: Creon accuses Ismene of madness since she wants to share the punishment of his sister cf. A Further Point in the Interpretation of Sophocl. In this sense, the religious conflict between Antigone and Creon is related instead to 370-1; in fact, the conflict between them results from an excess and intransigence cf.

IV 17The picture we are drawing of the religious conflict between Antigone and Creon is still incomplete, and to complete it we will have to examine what we could call the resolution of such a conflict. The resolution of the religious conflict will reveal fundamental aspects of the religious conflict itself.

However, near the end of the play, the religious conflict is resolved, namely when Antigone is condemned to isolation in the rocky cave and ends up dying by her own hands cf. The resolution of the conflict is uneven, for Antigone is punished and commits suicide, while Creon remains alive and apparently continues to rule the city cf.

Conflict between Human Law and Law of God in Sophocles' Antigone

In fact, neither of the protagonists emerges victorious from their religious conflict. On the one hand, Antigone is punished and the force of her belief in her religious conduct is not unshakable cf. On the other hand, despite being the person who punishes Antigone, Creon becomes desperate 41 and his future as ruler of the city is uncertain.

Let us first read the most relevant passages in this regard.