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Moral Law vs. Civil Law
Nov. 10, 1998
In the case of Antigone versus the state, she chose to follow moral law, or God's
law if you will. Ultimately she felt that His law was right, and the civil government had
no right to say who does and who does not have the right to a proper burial. People make
decisions everyday in accordance with God's laws or the governments laws. They make a
choice between the two, and they go with it. It's decided upon according to what they
believe is right.
Antigone based her decisions solely on her beliefs that she felt within her heart.
She followed through with her actions, prepared to face the consequences, knowing what
they would be. This shows that Antigone is courageous and passionate in her beliefs.
She felt that the law of the land was unjust and she couldn't let the soul of her brother
suffer because of injustice. Many citizens backer her up on her decision. Creon's son,
Haemon, even told his father what they thought. He said, "The people feel sorry for
Antigone. They say it isn't equitable that she must die." God spoke to her and she acted
upon the support of a loved one. She did what she did knowing would smile upon her
and the dead would welcome her.
Creon is what the civil law is. Polynices, the unburied, brother of Antigone,
fought against Thebes, making him undeserving of a grave according to Creon. All that
Polynices was doing was following his own morals. He believed in the other side,
whatever that may have been, and he gave his life for it. Creon, being closed minded,
lashed out before taking the time to weight the circumstances, and being so hasty in his
decision suffered an even greater consequence than that of Antigone, in the end. He
refused to listen even after Teiresias warned him by saying, "The sun won't run its course
for many days before you have to repay a corpse of your own..." Antigone performed
God's will, and Creon tried to stand in the way, thinking of himself as more powerful. In
the end though, it showed that morality would prevail over all else, proving that's what in
your heart is what matters the most. What ever punishment Creon received, he deserved.
Teiresias told him that what he was doing was wrong, "One body you have locked in a
tomb. Another that rightly should be in the underworld you have forcibly retained here
on earth. Because of this, the Furies have been waiting to pay you back in your own
In 331 BC, Alexander the Great conquered the Persian empire, headed by King
Darius III. Alexander found Darius's body murdered by one of his satraps. Alexander
came upon his biggest enemy, and still found it in his heart to give him a proper burial,
because morally he knew it was the right thing to do. Alexander didn't love the guy, he
didn't even like him, he just did it. The point is this, if Alexander the Great, ruler of all of
Greece, and then some, is able to reach deep down and give his arch enemy the burial
ceremony that he deserves. Than Creon, king of tiny little Thebes, can find it in his heart
to give Polynices and honorable burial, being his nephew no less.
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Antigone, Civil disobedience, Operas, Creon, Haemon, Polynices, Tiresias, Antigonae, Antigona, The Burial at Thebes
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