Justice is a word we hear today all the time. Left and right we hear of judges and citizens demanding justice. Is justice always the right way? It seems that justice is not always the correct solution to a problem, but a solution that is the easiest to make. The classic play Antigone is a perfect example of this.
Antigone is classic tragedy at its finest. A simple civilized and humane right of burying a loved one is turned into a great loss. Creon’s inapt decision to hold his power and sentence Antigone to death causes him to lose the people he loves most. The “justice” of the play is simply Creon’s punishment for his cruelty to Antigone.
When Antigone learns that no one is to bury her brother, she immediately knows what she must do. She doesn’t even hesitate to her decision and she is fully willing to face the consequences to do what is right. She believes that what she is doing is just a humane right and she’s willing to die for what she believes in. She even tells Creon that what he’s doing is against what the gods wanted and that his laws were worthless. She states: “Not through dread of any human pride could I answer to the gods for breaking these.” It seems that gods are almost speaking to Creon through Antigone and warning him of his decision.
Antigone is almost hailed to a god like status, as Oedipus was before her. She is extremely strong and unbelievably willing to sacrifice everything in the name of honor and pride. She so easily makes her decisions and chooses to die willingly without a second thought. The minute Creon questions her on breaking the law, she states: “Die I must, -I knew that well (how should I not? ) -even without thy edicts.” What is even more is that Antigone was a woman, a woman in a time of extreme male domination.
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This makes her even stronger of a person in the play and shows the growing strength of the gender that we know of today. The blind sear once again plays the roll of an extremely reliable, but ignored person. He warns Creon of his terrible mistake but when Creon goes to change his wrongs, he finds out its too late. Creon is given more than enough warnings of his fate as Antigone states in the play: “And if my present deeds are foolish in thy sight, it may be that a foolish judge arraigns my folly.” This angers Creon even more that someone would questions his authority but he believes that power is more important in the end than honor. Creon believes justice is putting Antigone to death, while Antigone and Is mene believe justice is burying their brother. In the end the justice is Creon’s loss, which shows morals above a kings laws.
The scheme of Sophocles’ plays tends to always be fate to the blind eye. The fate of Oedipus and now Creon are determined by single decision that they make without thinking twice. Oedipus killed his own father on the road to Thebes for power, and Creon sentenced Antigone to death for the same. In the end it’s the individual corruption from power that seemingly no one can control. In Macbeth as well, power is the cause of his loss. Sophocles’s seems to say that our human nature causes us to be corrupt.
Sophocles’ play Antigone is a story about knowing when not to obey a law. It’s about doing what is right and the punishment that one suffers if they allow law to overcome natural rights. Antigone is also about being allowed to grieve a loss and giving honor by burying those we love. With all the death and tragedy that occurs in Antigone, what it all comes down to is that the “justice” of the play is Creon’s punishment for his ignorance.