“Civil Law vs. Moral law”

In Sophocles’ play “Antigone”, Antigone’s life is taken from her because of her choice to follow the moral law by burying her brother and disobeying the civil law, which forbid this.

According to the gods everyone is entitled to the proper burial. Everyone has a right to be put to peace upon his or her death. Creon enforced an edict (the civil law) that Polyneices is not entitled to a proper burial because he is considered a traitor of Thebes. [p.199] Creon felt that if a person acted against the state he or she loses the right to be buried, and put to rest in peace. Antigone made the decision to bury her brother Polyneices, even though it was against Creon’s edict. She had chosen to do what is right according to the gods, and bury her brother. The laws of the gods were more important to her then obey the law of the humans. Because she made the moral choice of siding with the gods, Creon, the king, sentenced her to death. She knew of this punishment before making her decision, but she felt overwhelmed that burying her brother was the moral, and righteous thing to do. She was willing to die for her brother. [p.209]

When Antigone and Creon have the confrontation, Antigone tells Creon that heavens laws are more powerful than Creon’s laws. Antigone reminds Creon that it is not the place of a mortal to question or amend the divine law under no circumstances. Antigone tells Creon that she has no sorrow for what she done nor will she back down. Creon views the laws of the state as the highest laws in existence. He is ignoring the divine laws, which are higher than any law that is created by man. Creon commits the sin of blasphemy, by claiming that the gods do not give a damn about Polyneices body. [p. 203] Creon believes that he is just in sentencing Antigone to death because she did not follow the civil law; however, she was following the more powerful law divine law.

Due to the fact that Antigone had a stronger desire for following the moral law, Creon who enforced the civil law sentenced her to death.

Word Count: 375

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