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Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone addresses various moral dilemmas, but the major conflict is associated with the rule of law. The clash between Antigone and Creon serves as the setting for the discussion of the superiority of state over the family or secular over divine values (De Luigi 35). After becoming the ruler, Creon tries to exercise his power by showing that any unlawful activities will result in punishment. The prohibition to bury Polynices’ body is the chosen punishment. Antigone fails to obey the law and buries her brother trying to follow the existing traditions and divine laws (Young 99). The conflict between Creon and Antigone can serve as the platform for the discussion of the relationship between divine and secular laws.
The conflict between individual and common interests can lead to personal dramas or even the fall of countries (Etxabe 86). Creon’s position is associated with the power of the state and secular laws. However, they can sometimes be inconsistent with cultural norms, divine laws, and ethical choices. Creon concentrates on the interests of the majority of citizens as he wants to prevent any attacks or actions that can harm the whole city. Whereas, Antigone puts her individual interests ahead and makes sure that her brother is buried according to the existing traditions.
In conclusion, the relationship between divine and secular laws is apparent in the clash between Antigone and Creon. People create regulations that help them exist in the existing environment. State regulations often serve the majority while cultural norms are meaningful at the individual level. In a democratic society, secular laws seem to have more power, but family and traditions should always be taken into account when addressing issues and conflicts.
De Luigi, Alberto. Justice as Equality and Neutrality. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.
Etxabe, Julen. The Experience of Tragic Judgment. Routledge, 2013.
Young, Julian. The Death of God and the Meaning of Life. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2014.