Antigone justice essay - essays on citizenship









antigone justice essay

antigone justice essayAntigone justice essay -Antigone invites Ismene to join her in burying their brother Polyneices, though the king has forbidden burial on pain of death.There is usually more than one choice available, and the tragic hero makes the wrong choice, as in the case of Creon.The Chorus, terrified, asks Creon to take their advice.Together the fates were called the Moirae, the ones who apportioned human destiny.When the body of Polyneices is mysteriously buried against Creon’s will, the Chorus hints, “Do we not see in this the hand of God? Creon has to admit in the end that “I fear it may be wisest to observe/ Throughout one’s life the laws that are established” (lines 1113-14).The Messenger reports that Haemon and Antigone have both taken their own lives. A Second Messenger arrives to tell Creon and the Chorus that Eurydice has killed herself. Creon blames himself for everything that has happened, and, a broken man, he asks his servants to help him inside.Furthermore, since he represents the city-state of Thebes as its king, his will is sovereign.The gods also weigh in through omens, and the prophesy of the seer, Teiresias.Haemon tries to explain that Creon is out of touch with the people, who with one voice support Antigone.For this world came into being from a mixture of Necessity and Intelligence.The order he valued so much has been protected, and he is still the king, but he has acted against the gods and lost his child and his wife as a result.Creon asks the elders to reinforce the decree, but though they agree he has the power to make the law (“You, being sovereign, make what laws you will,” line 213), they decline to enforce it, begging him to find younger men. The Chorus does not defy Creon as Antigone does, but they do give feedback to him at critical points.The Chorus delivers a choral ode on/to the god Dionysis, and then a Messenger enters to tell them that Haemon has killed himself.The specific circumstances surrounding the origin of Greek drama were a puzzle even in the 4th century BC.The Sentry leaves, but after a short absence he returns, bringing Antigone with him.He will not let partiality or family connections dictate over the good of the city: “if any holds/ A friend of more account than his own city/ I scorn him” (lines181-183).They point out here that the two laws are in conflict—civil and religious.Antigone is outspoken that Creon’s authority cannot extend to sacred matters, especially when he puts himself at odds with the will of the gods.He urges his father to listen to others, for “The man/ Who thinks that he alone is wise” (lines 706-07) will fail.In the opening of the play, Antigone brings Ismene outside the city gates late at night for a secret meeting: Antigone wants to bury Polyneices' body, in defiance of Creon's edict.antigone justice essayThe Chorus closes by saying that although the gods punish the proud, punishment brings wisdom.Creon feels confident that through his will, he can make laws for the city of Thebes, and at first he sticks by his decision to punish Antigone.Creon is king and in an early speech to the city elders (the Chorus), he explains how he will be a tough ruler because of his loyalty to Thebes.After Teiresias points out to him the fate or consequences awaiting him if he persists, he gives in saying, “one cannot fight/ Against Necessity” (1105-06).Creon sees her as a rebel, a threat to his power: “While I am living, no woman shall have rule” (line 525). First, she is a relation, and it would seem like giving special favors.Creon enters, along with the Chorus of Theban Elders.Eurydice, Creon's wife and Haemon's mother, enters and asks the Messenger to tell her everything. He understands that his own actions have caused these events.The play fuels the debate whether fate is stronger than one’s free will.Antigone goes to her death, certain that “what I did, the wise will all approve” (line 905).Intelligence controlled Necessity by persuading it for the most part to bring about the best result, and it was by this subordination of Necessity to Reasonable persuasion that the universe was originally constituted as it is.”This evolution of the idea of Fate to include the participation of human choice and reason is part of the Greek legacy of humanism.He then tries to prove his tough impartiality by denying burial rites to his own nephew, Polyneices, who was a traitor to Thebes.Teiresias says “the wise and prudent man” can and should change his mind when he has gone the wrong way (line 1024). Creon, on the other hand, is obsessive on a “single thought”(line 705)., or wisdom, stemmed from self-knowledge.Creon, however, seems to suffer through his own choices and stubbornness.Creon grows angrier, and, thinking Ismene must have helped her, summons the girl.While Thebes was not a democracy like Athens, a king needs the support of his people.She protests, “He [Creon] has no right to keep me from my own! She explains she is willing to die to do her duty to Polyneices, for “I have to please/ The dead far longer than I need to please/ the living; with them, I have to dwell forever” (lines 74-76).Haemon, Creon's son and Antigone's fiance, enters to pledge allegiance to his father.He says to the city counselors: “It is the city that protects us all;/ She bears us through the storm; only when she/ Rides safe and sound can we make loyal friends” (lines 188-190).Such self-knowledge was supposed to be a lifelong pursuit and would lead to wisdom, balance, harmony, moderation, control, and good judgment.Teiresias, the blind prophet, underscores Haemon’s position that there is “no disgrace” in knowing when to yield (line 710). antigone justice essay He assents, and they tell him that he should bury Polyneices and free Antigone. He leaves with a retinue of men to help him right his previous mistakes.Ismene tries to confess falsely to the crime, wishing to die alongside her sister, but Antigone will have none of it.“Know thyself” was a popular teaching of the philosophers and inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi.Antigone may be wiser in choosing the gods over human law, but because her behavior is also rebellious and extreme, she does not create harmony around her and suffers the consequences.Antigone takes the long view of things, warning Creon “Nor could I think that a decree of yours-- / A man—could override the laws of Heaven/ Unwritten and unchanging” (lines 453-55).When Antigone laments that she must die so young and alone, the Chorus comments that she has done a noble deed for her brother, and “Such loyalty is a holy thing/ Yet none that holds authority/ Can brook disobedience.In early Greek literature, Fate was all-powerful, even more powerful than the gods, for even Zeus did not know when his reign would end.An anonymous poet came up with the idea of having the chorus interact with a masked actor.Antigone and Ismene are the sisters of the dead brothers, and they are now the last children of the ill-fated Oedipus.The play opens with the debate between the sisters Antigone and Ismene about which law comes first—the religious duty of citizens, or the civil duty?Someone like Oedipus, born with a certain prophesied fate, is not able to circumvent it by any means.Antigone, however, is entangled in a legacy of fate that plagues everyone in the family of Oedipus.He seeks their support in the days to come, and in particular wants them to back his edict regarding the disposal of Polyneices' body. A Sentry enters, fearfully reporting that the body has been buried.He explains the decree against burying Polyneices to the elders, and they agree that “You, being sovereign, make what laws you will / Both for the dead and those of us who live” (lines 213-14).Creon unwisely forces the issue, and it does not come out in his favor, for the people choose Antigone’s side of the argument.O my child,/ Your self-willed pride has been your ruin” (lines 872-875).The rebel brother's body will not be sanctified by holy rites, and will lay unburied to become the food of carrion animals.Creon continues to insist on “obedience”(lines 671-76), while Haemon accuses Creon of “opposing Justice” (line 743).He proves by example the will of the gods overrides human law.She fears “the gods’ tribunal” (458) more than the judgment of Creon, though she knows disobeying him will cost her life. antigone justice essay On the other hand, humans seem limited by their mortality and their fate, or predetermined destiny.Greek drama seems to have its roots in religious celebrations that incorporated song and dance.Creon, the new ruler of Thebes, has declared that Eteocles will be honored and Polyneices disgraced.Her destiny seems more set and less her fault, though she does brings it down on herself by rebelling against Creon. She had free will, but if she exercises it to go against the king’s law, it carries consequences.She argues unflinchingly with Creon about the morality of the edict and the morality of her actions.She is right in that everyone except Creon agrees with her.Creon goes in the opposite direction, choosing not to know himself and thus creates tragedy from clinging to his stubborn and egotistic will.She is taken away, with the Chorus expressing great sorrow for what is going to happen to her. All of Greece will despise him, and the sacrificial offerings of Thebes will not be accepted by the gods.Antigone denies that Creon has authority in the matter of burial, a sacred duty she feels bound to fulfill.Tragedy is bound to occur when these two vital laws are set against one another, for both sacred law and civil law are necessary for the welfare of the people.Sophocles and the later philosophers like Plato, however, tried to balance the picture by glorifying human reason as an echo of the reasoning intelligence behind cosmic law.The laws of the gods regulating the life of man “are eternal; no man saw their birth” (line 457).If he cannot rule his own house, he says, how can he expect to rule Thebes? Creon’s son, Haemon, however, tries to break this impasse by bringing up the notion of wisdom.In the , Plato says, “Beside Reason, we must also set the results of Necessity.Humans could thus modify their own destiny if they were wise.Ismene refuses to help her, fearing the death penalty, but she is unable to dissuade Antigone from going to do the deed by herself.Creon orders that the two women be temporarily locked up.Antigone is more of a threat than a man would be, for she has the status of a slave in Thebes, and he calls her a slave (lines 478-79). Secondly, she is a mere woman, and yielding to her would make him seem weak.Haemon is not only motivated by his love for Antigone, but by anger against his father’s tyrannical rule.She says, “I yield to those who have authority” (line 67). antigone justice essay The Chorus, terrified, asks Creon to take their advice. antigone justice essay

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