Antigone Essay

Throughout mankind’s history, there has always been the belief of a greater place, one that can only be reached by living an honorable life free of evil, and, that if that feat is achieved, when someone dies, they will go to paradise. The most crucial requirement of getting into paradise, however, was to live an honorable life; even if you had never done anything immoral, if you had the chance to stop a wrongdoer and you did not act on that chance, then you had not lived a truly honorable life. Honor was very important in the time of Sophocles, and it was believed that maintaining your integrity was more important than following the laws of mortals, because mortals could have differing ideas of right and wrong then the gods and goddesses of Mt. Olympus. The laws of the gods were final, and breaking them would be the equivalent of throwing yourself into a black hole. The gods were the ones that would decide your final resting place, so for someone to disobey them would have been folly of the highest degree. Sophocles placed great emphasis on following the gods’ and goddesses’ laws, and he has transferred those principles into his writings.

      Several of the messages that Sophocles sought to present in Antigone are based upon beliefs that are upheld even today, and yet they seem somehow alien to us. The idea that the gods’ laws were the ultimate definition of good and evil and that following them took precedent over the laws of mortals, for example, is portrayed in Antigone’s response to Creon’s question:

      “Creon: ‘And still you dared to disobey the law?’

      Antigone: ‘I disobeyed because the law was not the law of Zeus, nor the law ordained by Justice, Justice dwelling deep among the gods of the dead. What they decree is immemorial and binding for us all. The proclamation … was mortal, and I, also a mortal; I chose to disregard it… I’ll die anyhow: death is almost a relief. If I had to live and suffer in the knowledge that Polyneices was lying...