Conflict Between The Individual And Society In Antigone

Submitted By dhruvsubra
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Dhruv Subramanian Mrs. Frank English II PreAP­2 January 21, 2015 Antigone and MLK: Tragic Hero Essay Sophocles explores the universal theme of conflict between the individual and society in the classical tragedy, Antigone. Antigone is one of the four children of
Oedipus, the former king of Thebes. When Oedipus went into exile for his crimes,
Antigone’s brothers, Polyneices and Eteocles, fought over who would eventually rule, and Polyneices attacked Thebes. Eventually , the two brother killed each other, and their uncle Creon, who had supported Eteocles, became king. Antigone now has to perform the duty of a family member by paying respects and burying Polyneices, which is against Creon’s command.The conflict between an individual’s morals and society’s laws can be further explained through religion, family, fate, and power.
Sophocles depicts the struggle between the two universal themes through religious and family duties. She briefly fights with her sister Ismene over whether or not
Ismene will help her bury Polyneices. Antigone believes that she would “die” if she has to to bury her brother because “the law of the gods” come first (57­66). The law of the gods is the individual belief that Antigone holds which prevents her from standing idly by while Creon, the symbol of society, ridicules Polyneices for being a traitor. Antigone and
Ismene have both “lost two brothers”, but Antigone has a different perspective from

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Ismene about how her brothers should be treated (8). Antigone believes that family comes before society, and supports the fact that Polyneices should have the same amount of honor as Eteocles. Ismene, however, follows her uncle’s strict orders because Polyneices is considered a traitor by society. Hamon supports Antigone and tries to gain the blessing of Creon to let Antigone live by creating the sense that the city wants to “honor” her (70­71). This shows that people contain enough reasoning, “God’s crowning gift to man”, to show individuality (55). The scene depicts the struggle between the citizens who symbolize individuality and Creon who is depicting the laws of society. Furthermore, the citizens of the world today depict the same struggle that was happening one thousand six