Antigone

Antigone's Dilemmas 12th Grade

   Antigone, the title character of Sophocles’ Antigone, faces the moral dilemma of whether to honor divine or mortal laws. While King Creon has decreed “no one shall bury [Polyneices],” the laws of the Gods dictate that all corpses must be buried (Prologue. 20). As such, the issue at hand is far more complex than merely considering religion or legalities– Antigone must also consider familial loyalty to her brother Polyneices. She repeatedly refers to her duty as a sister and ultimately chooses to bury Polyneices, giving up her own life if need be. Antigone believes herself to be in the right, as she is defending her religious beliefs and protecting family, so she willingly overlooks any responsibility she may have as a law-abiding citizen.

   As she defends her disobedience of the king, Antigone makes appeals to her personal responsibility towards family. She claims to be a “true sister,” as opposed to the “traitor” Ismene who is reluctant to break the law, even for her brother’s soul (1. 27). The usage of diction with such strong connotations, like the ringing condemnation of “traitor,” reveals Antigone’s extreme, black-and-white view...

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