In the play "Antigone' by Sophocles, Creon and Antigone have distinct conflicting values. Hegel s view claims that both sides are right and that both sides are wrong because they assert that they are exclusively right. Creon's regard for the laws of the city causes him to abandon all other beliefs. He feels that all should obey the laws set forth by him, even if other beliefs, moral or religious, state otherwise. Antigone, on the other hand, hold the beliefs of the gods in high reverence. She feels that the laws of the gods should be obeyed above all others, especially when in respect to family.
The concept of divine law can be described as the law of God. Divine law involves morals and beliefs that are presented by God. Divine law as being the "unwritten laws of the Gods'. This type of law is most likely in effect when the idea of morals are apparent, such as when a moral decision must be made.
This type of decision would probably be considered right or wrong. Human law is usually set up by the head of a community or by the governors of the land. They make sure that the law of the land is followed accordingly. This is apparent in the play Antigone, when Antigone herself disobeys a law that was set up by King Creon, a law that went against the beliefs she held towards the law of the Gods.
In the play, Antigone and Creon battle a philosophical war concerning their ideals. They both base there actions on what they believe is right and wrong. The conflict arose when their ideals that backed up their actions on the burial of Polyneices clashed, creating a contradiction between morals. Antigone s side of the conflict held a much more divine approach, as opposed to the mundane path Creon chose to travel. Antigone feels that Creon is disregarding the laws of the heavens by ordering it unlawful for anyone to provide a proper burial for her brother Polyneices. Antigone s opinion is one that supports the Gods and the laws of the heavens.
Her reasoning is set by her belief that if someone were not given a proper burial, that person would not be accepted into heaven. Creon s order was personal to Antigone and his edict invaded her family life as well as the Gods. An important ideal in Ancient Greece was the belief that the government was to have no control in matters concerning religious beliefs. In Antigone s eyes, Creon betrayed that ideal by not allowing her to properly bury her brother, Polyneices. She believed that the burial was a religious ceremony, and Creon did not have the power to deny Polyneices that right. She feels that the king cannot override her belief in the gods.
Antigone feels very strongly about burying her brother against Creon's orders. The people of Thebes supported Antigone but were too scared to do anything about it. Creon found out about this through his son Haemon. Also by denying Antigone to perform burial ceremonies for Polyneices, he is denying Antigone the ideal that supports freedom of religion. To Antigone, divine law is of more importance than human law. She bases herself on following the law that is set by the Gods.
Antigone views morals and values very highly. Creon s actions are guided by the ideal that man is the measure of all things. Creon believes that the good of man comes before the Gods. An example of Creon s belief was the unburied body of Polyneices. Creon doesn t want to give honor to a man who attempted to invade and conquer his city.
He denies burial for Polyneices to show respect for Thebes. From this standpoint, Creon s decisions for denying burial for Polyneices are completely just and supports the ideals. Creon also had stated that one should not place a friend, in this case a brother, in front of one's country. Creon, being a new king, wants to prove his abilities as king. He is being harsh, so the people of Thebes don't take him for an easy king and other problems arise.
Creon feels that if someone dishonors the city in which he rules they must be punished. If Polyneices is not punished then Creon's power may be taken for granted by the people of Thebes. They would think of him as a weak king who can be dishonored without fear of punishment. However in order to be a strong king, one must be strict and firm in one's decisions. That is the kind of king that Creon is. Creon is a strong king because Thebes is important to him.
He wants to be respected. He also wants Thebes to be a great city. Further evidencing this idea, Polynices also killed Antigone's other brother Eteocles who was faithful to Thebes until his death defending it. Being that this is the case then why would Creon agree to a burial of a traitor who with a foreign army invaded his homeland killing his own brother and would have sold his fellow countrymen into slavery.
It was Antigone who insisted on disobeying Creon s edict, and when she was caught, he felt obliged to punish her, even though she was related to him. She knew that the penalty was death and she was willing to accept it (Richards 147). Antigone response to this is that she wants to bury her brother because that is the unwritten law of the gods, but Creon's decision is in light of his belief in those same gods, for the gods never respect a traitor. It must seem inconceivable to Creon that the gods would ever want a traitor like Polynices buried, let alone with the same ceremony as his brother Eteocles. Creon believes in the gods of the country and he is sure that he is acting in the best interest of Thebes.
For if he had decided to bury Polynices it would show him and his country as being weak. It would send a message that Thebes is a country that honors its traitors. This could put the country in jeopardy of another attack. Creon exercises complete domination of political power. He defies this ideal by holding Antigone as his prisoner and not the publics. The people of Thebes supported Antigone but were too scared to do anything about it.
Creon found out about this through his son Haemon. The second is freedom of religion. By denying Antigone to perform burial ceremonies for Polyneices, he is denying Antigone the ideal that supports freedom of religion. Both Antigone and Creon have their own ideas of what is "right' and what is "wrong'. This is to say that we should not make assumptions about whether or not something is right or wrong, unless the answer to that is apparently clear. Antigone believed that the actions she took were done for the right reason, because they adhere to the law of the Gods.
In opposition to that, Creon believes that the actions he had taken were in fact the right ones, because he believed that Polyneices was a traitor to the land, and that anyone who should give him a proper burial would suffer the penalty of death. Antigone has the laws of heaven as well as her family in mind. On the other hand, Creon's concern is his city and its greatness. Antigone and Creon have different ideas of what is right and what is wrong. However one cannot say who is right and who is wrong, that would be a matter of opinion. So, the actions that were taken by both of them individually were the right ones, in their own minds at least..