Antigone: Moral Law vs Civil Law
?Antigone: Moral Law vs Civil Law When it comes to morality, what is right and wrong based on a person’s personal beliefs, the story of Antigone is a great literary reference towards the internal struggles of an individual’s morality. Antigone chose to attribute herself with moral law instead of Creon’s rash and destructive civil law. Antigone felt that no one had the right to decide another’s fate, let alone the fate of someone else’s deceased body.
Antigone believed that her brother deserved a proper burial, although he fought against Thebes he still fought for what he believed in and thought was morally just. Many individuals make decisions depending on their moral standings. No one can say what is morally just or unjust besides the individual themselves that ultimately make the final decisions. The reader quickly discovers that the moral beliefs of Antigone and Creon will clash into an epic battle of courage and moral beliefs.
Antigone devised her own agenda based on her personal standings that she felt was right. She formed a plan of action and she followed through all the way to the end. She was fully aware of the consequences and faced them with courage and passion. Antigone felt that there was injustice in the law and she could not allow her own brother to be punished in such a grotesque way. Many citizens followed behind her beliefs and motives. Even though she knew her death was inevitable she strived to achieve what she thought was just.
Creon sets the standards for civil law within the story of Antigone. Creon’s decision to make it unlawful to bury the deceased body of Polynices was based solely on the fact that Polynices fought against the Thebans. In the eyes of Creon, Polynices was a traitor although Polynices was only doing what he believed was just. Polynices knew what challenges he would face and gave his life for his own moral beliefs. Each character in the story choses their own morality and each proves that what they truly believe is what is most important.
Although Teiresias thoroughly informed Creon of the consequences of his actions Creon refused to listen. Creon overstepped the moral boundaries of others and suffered for his unjust actions, “you have to repay a corpse of your own…” “One body you have locked in a tomb…” “Another… you have forcibly retained here on earth. ” It is noted that the “Furies” will pay back Creon with his “own coin”, or life. A grand example of mortality occurred in early 300 BC when Alexander the Great overthrew the entire Persian Empire. The Persian Empire was ruled y King Darius III. When Alexander discovered the murdered body of Darius he still provided Darius’s body with an appropriate burial. The difference between Alexander and Creon is that Alexander understands the difference between what is just and unjust. It makes it more despicable when it is made obvious that Polynices was Creon’s nephew and Creon still denied his body a proper and respectable burial as he should have received. Alexander understands morality to a great extent unlike Creon who suffers greatly for his morally unjust actions.