Antigone Right V. Right
A famous German philosopher named Hegel claimed, “At the heart of the Greek tragedy is the spectacle of right vs. right. ” The central idea of the tragedies was not about who was right and wrong, because those two would be effortless to separate from each other, but on who was considered the most right, which would many times be difficult to tell apart. Throughout the tragic play, Antigone, written by the ancient Greek playwright, Sophocles, Antigone was proven to be the most right. This can be verified since Antigone decided to follow the gods’ law over Creon’s law, and the punishment that she received from Creon was far too unreasonable.
Antigone does what is ethical by pursuing what would be right in accordance to the gods, not in accordance to Creon. Creon believed that Polyneices did not deserve to be buried. Before Antigone is sent to dies, she tells Creon, “You will remember / What things I suffer, and at what’s men’s hands / Because I would not transgress the laws of heaven” (4. 78-80). When it comes to order of importance, the gods should be more valued, because they always will know what is right for the people. Those who follow the gods’ rules more often will most likely make the better decision.
As Aristotle once said, “… human reason is the most godlike part of human nature, a life guided by human reason is superior to any other. ” Eventually, even Creon himself comes to the realization that he was wrong when he says, “The laws of the gods are mighty, and a man must serve them / To the last day of his life! ” (5. 108-109) The gods are a powerful force, and if more people are meant to follow them. Honoring the gods is something significant, especially during ancient Greece. Even though Antigone did make the decision of breaking Creon’s laws, her punishment was not at all fair.
Even if one were to say that Antigone did the wrong thing, it is hard to argue that the penalty should not have been as brutal. When discussing this situation with his father, Haemon informs Creon of his thoughts, “They say no woman has ever, so unreasonably / Dies so shameful a death for a generous act” (3. 63-64). Antigone wanted to do what was best for Polyneices, to make sure that his death will be as much of an honor as the one of his own brother. And for doing for what she, as well as many other citizens, thought was the most proper thing to do, she was unfairly sentenced to death.
Antigone, also before leaving for her punishment, speaks of Creon, “But if the guilt / Lies upon Creon who judged me, then I pray / May his punishment equal my own” (4. 68-70). She knows that she made the most moral decision, so the real punishment will eventually go who have misjudged her, Creon in this case. This did come true, when Creon’s life when turned into a catastrophe when his son and wife, Haemon and Eurydice, both committed suicide after admitting that they could not possibly live with someone who was so cruel to someone who was innocent.
It was a law unreasonable, so it deserved to have been broken. While it is true that anarchy comes from many citizens deciding to rebel against the law, the law that Antigone broke was worthy of breaking. Creon tried to reason his punishment by saying, “If I permit my own family to rebel / How shall I earn the world’s obedience? ” (3. 30-31) It is true that Creon and his family should abide to the laws in order to set an example for his state, but not a law as unjust as that one. There should be exceptions to certain laws, if there is proof that it was the most ethical choice.
He also tried to make this decision seem rational by stating, “Of all the people in this city, only she / Has had contempt for my was and broken it” (3. 24-25). Actually, Creon is incorrect with making this statement. Many citizens have said that they don’t believe in Creon’s decision, but are too afraid of being punished if they choose to stand up for Antigone. Considering the fact that Creon is meant to be a representation of the people he is leading, he should not have been so ignorant to everyone else, and let Antigone free. In this battle of right vs. right, Antigone was shown to be the most justified.
All in all, Antigone had made the most reasonable choices, in comparison to Creon. Not only had she chose the gods over Creon, she also suffered an undeserved punishment. Nowadays, we come across sever right vs. right situations, and sometimes it is hard to tell what the better decision is. Learning to separate these from early on will help others make the best choice when problems become more difficult. Human nature has a harder time making the distinction, so it is important to realize the difference when we have problems that require this amount of thought.