Antigone was right to break a law she believed to be unjust. There are many arguments that can be cited as evidence to prove this. Each argument is a recurring justification throughout the Greek myth. Three convincing arguments that can be used to back up this position are love, family loyalty, and human law versus God’s law. Antigone’s justifications of her behavior serve to prove her actions as just. Although, Antigone was aware of the consequences of her actions, she was convinced that her behavior was necessary. Love is one of the most common themes used in literature throughout history. Antigone proves her love and respect for her brother not just through her words, but through her actions as well.
Her love for her family and for both of her brother’s equally compel her to act. “I shall lie by his side, loving him as he loved me; I shall be a criminal–but a religious one.” (Grene and Lattimore, page 163-164). “I will go to heap the earth on the grave of my loved brother.” (Grene and Lattimore, page 164). These quotes demonstrate Antigone’s need to give her brother a proper burial out of her love for him. Antigone felt a strong sense of family loyalty and duty.
In ancient Greece, one of the women’s major duties was to make sure their families or loved ones received a proper burial. It was believed that if a person did not get a proper burial, their soul would continuously wander and have no rest (“The Unwritten”). When Creon created his law that forbid Antigone from giving her brother a proper burial, he was taking away one of her most important duties as a woman. “But if I dared to leave the dead man, my mother’s son, dead and unburied, that would have been real pain.” (Grene and Lattimore, page 178). This quote shows Antigone’s pain if she was unable to perform the burial of her brother. The final argument that proves the Antigone was justified in her attempt to bury her brother is human law versus God’s law. Victor Hugo once said, “It is wrong to become so absorbed in the divine law to such a degree as not perceive human laws (“Victor Hugo”).
Death belongs to God alone. By what right do men touch that unknown thing?” This quote directly states that the importance of human laws is not greater than God’s laws. Not only does Antigone believe that God’s laws are more important than human laws, but she feels that Creon’s law to not bury her brother goes directly against God’s laws. It was widely believed in ancient Greece that a proper burial should be given to all men, even the enemies that die in battle. Teiresias, the prophet, told Creon that death would come to him and his family for going against God’s laws.
In conclusion, Antigone was brave to go against the law of Thebes by burying brother. She was willing to and did sacrifice her life for what she felt and knew was right. Whether the main motivation was out of love, family loyalty, or following God’s laws, Antigone was justified in her actions.
Even Creon realized that the law he created would have dire consequences. Unfortunately, by the time Creon realized that he should not have changed the old law, it was too late for everyone involved. Therefore, Antigone was right to break the law she believed was unjust.Works Cited”Ancient Greek Burial Customs.” pacifictheaterarts.
wordpress.com, pacifictheatrearts.wordpress.com/ancient-burial-customs/. Accessed 28 Dec. 2017.Grene, David, and Richmond Lattimore, editors. Sophocles I.
United States, The University of Chicago Press, 1991.—, editors. Sophocles I.
United States, The University of Chicago Press, 1991.”The Unwritten Laws of Greece.” lawandrelgionforum.com, lawandreligionforum.org/2015/10/29/the-unwritten-laws-of-greece/. Accessed 28 Dec. 2017.
“Victor Hugo Quotes.” Goodreads.com, www.goodreads.com/quotes/4604218-it-is-wrong-to-become-absorbed-in-the-divine-law.
Accessed 28 Dec. 2017.