Examples Of Law And The Language Of Power In Hammurabi

Submitted By Jonas-Ofori
Words: 706
Pages: 3

Law and the language of power: Compare the language used by Sophocles, in his Antigone, and in the Code of Hammurabi to describe law and authority.
--What are the different ways in which law is said to reflect human and divine beliefs and values?
-- How flexible or inflexible are these visions of law?
--Do they apply equally to all persons?
--How do the lawmakers justify their own power and authority? How do other characters in Sophocles’ play view law and authority?
--What are the different purposes and goals of the two texts, and how do those purposes affect the presentation of this issue?

Law and the language of power is important in a society because it is meant to keep order. It helps maintain peace and safety among people and demonstrates justified consequences for improper behavior. Sophocles enforces two types of law and justice: divine law and the law of men and state in the play Antigone. The Code of Hammurabi was the first set of written laws in ancient Mesopotamia. It was a re-arrangement of previous laws in Mesopotamia and new laws that Hammurabi thought was fit, written into one document. It protects the citizens through a code of laws, instead of judging each case separately and in a chaotic way. It mostly covered all aspects of life within that time so that people would know how each situation would go about.
The play, Antigone by Sophocles, starts with a debate between Ismene and Antigone’s sisters Antigone which was more significant, the religious duty, or the civil duty of the people? Antigone summonses Ismene to the burial of their brother Polyneices, even though the burial was forbidden by the king. Antigone disagrees with the king, Creon’s, say over burial because she felt that she had been given the right to do so by the gods. She believed this was authority given by the gods that Creon had no right to take away. Even though she knew that Creon could take her life for being disobedient, she feared the gods more. She declared that there was higher authority over mortal man and she didn’t feel obligated to follow a manmade law. Creon’s laws were made to be inflexible but it was proven otherwise when the gods sent a prophet to Creon to tell him that he would suffer horribly which caused him to free Antigone only to later find out that Polyneices’ body was somehow buried. This showed that the divine belief of the people had more power over civil duties in Sophocles’ play. Other characters were afraid to go against Creon’s authority because they knew the consequences. For example, when Antigone purposed the idea of burying their