Antigone would vote Tea Party

The comparably specific themes and issues of Antigone were a nice change from the behemoth that was the Republic. Yet I found the situation in Sophocles’ work to be no less gripping. For Antigone’s dilemma seemed fairly pertinent and universal-  should she abide by the law or follow what she thinks is right? The fact that such a problem could even exists points out the flaws in law-making and laws in general.  Furthermore, it conveys a political issue that is still around today- the anarchy question.  Antigone’s story is an excellent case -in- point argument which any modern libertarian would love to use against big government.  It proves that it is very difficult, if not impossible for one to demonstrate absolute faith and obedience to a leader they may not even have chosen or liked, and that it’s possible for humans to remain lawlessly noble.  On the other hand it is a bit of a copout to justify breaking the law because you  simply can’t agree with it or those involved in making it. Yet when it comes down to it, this is what Antigone is doing. The play’s premise is perfect for making a law-breaker not only look innocent but utterly benevolent. However the piece doesn’t do this by focusing on the corruption or unfairness of the law being broke, but rather on the untouchable virtue of family duty and religion. (Although Kreon doesn’t strike my as a particularly good leader.) Should these virtues be prioritized below rules implemented by a leader?  This is the conversation Antigone brings up. In my opinion, the answer to this question would be yes, as I think laws and regulations help maintain equality and keep people from doing crazy things they’ll probably regret. But I’m also non-religious and like to think I agree with most laws anyway, so this is likely a bias outlook.

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  1. I did not read Antigone thinking about her disobedience as anything but noble but now that you have pointed it out I can see your argument clearly. It was clearly forbidden by her leader and yet she buried her brother anyway (still a ridiculous law), but I agree that is it a slippery slope.

  2. I agree with Maaike: I tend to read Antigone’s character as sympathetic and Kreon’s as not. Yet arguments like this make me realize that Kreon has a point. Last year in lecture Robert Crawford pointed out that after all, this is happening right on the cusp of a civil war and Kreon is still a new ruler, establishing his rule. He wants to show himself as strong because the stability that exists right then is precarious and could fall pretty easily back into war or chaos. So I can see his side as well.

    You’re right that the issues in this play are still very much relevant. Is it ever permissible to violate a law one thinks is unjust, or should one try to change the law without actually breaking it? If it is sometimes permissible, when and why? I would imagine it depends on the state one is living in, how bad the laws actually are, and how likely it would be that they would be changed without breaking them.

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