Antigone: Capital Punishment and Antigone Essay

Submitted By danyl123
Words: 812
Pages: 4

D. Hutchinson
Professor K.
English 110

Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone introduces us to the main character Antigone. She shows many characteristics and distinctions that allow her to break the boundaries of the typical Athenian woman. Although Antigone may be a woman, she is portrayed as the brave, headstrong, and courageous woman Sophocles intended her to be. Antigone’s decision to bury polyneices shows her rejection to the state’s idealized image of the obedient women. She is fueled by her belief in the divine law, which is opposed to Creon’s law and reinforces her rejection to the state. Antigone must make the ultimately decision between the divine law or comply with the human law of Creon. The Divine law states that she should bury her brother, Polyneices in order for him to return to the Gods. Conversely, Creon’s law states “That none shall bury him or mourn for him” (). In addition she or any other citizen who disobeys “shall be put to death by public stoning in the streets of Thebes” (). Antigone’s devotion to the divine law is a combination of both fear of consequence and anticipation of reward from the gods. Because of the is, her decision to bury her brother is consciously ruled by the unwritten law. Openly defiant when facing Creon, her boldness was not so much rebellion as it was religious obedience by declaring "I dared it was not God's proclamation. That final justice that rules the world below makes no such law” (). Her passion for her religion is clear as she goes on to proclaim “Your edict, king, was strong, but all your strength is weakness itself against the immortal unrecorded laws of God” Antigone feels that her brother is no longer under the rule of Creon, or any living rule for that matter. She is even presented as bold and assertive towards the king, however one would assume that her being of blood relation and betrothed to his son gave her a leniency in language as well as her punishment. She proceeded against the laws of the state stating “I intend to give my brother a proper burial. If it is a crime, then it’s a crime that God commands” (4). Again, it is evidence that Antigone’s respect for the law of the gods is placed in higher respect than that of Creon. By refusing to be obedient to Creon’s law, she violates the expected role of being a submissive woman. Antigone not only defies her mortal ruler; she challenges him to respond to her deviance, particularly by means of execution. Antigone is so passionate about her beliefs she is willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice in order to remain faithful to her convictions. This rejection to the idealized woman displays Antigone’s militant and rebellious nature against the state. Moreover Antigone was not viewed as spiteful or hateful towards Creon or her traitorous brother, but in fact was portrayed as loving and devoted. When Creon reprimanded her for burying her brother against the law will, Antigone replied “My nature is to love, I cannot hate”(19). Here Antigone was