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Antigone, Essay Example

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Words: 494

Essay

Hegel recognized the dialecticism in Antigone. The play is about the competing tendencies of human beings toward moral law with the state. I agree with Antigone’s decision as well as its implications. Although this play from Sophocles is essentially tragic it is only so because the heroine is unable to understand her defectiveness well enough to mitigate it. The question of how Antigone’s gender affects the conflict is discussed. Details from the play and the article by Patricia Lines, “Antigone’s Flaw” are used to support my opinion. The ultimate lesson seems to be that human dignity trumps human law. Legality and morality are often two completely different things.

I agree with Antigone’s decision to anoint the corpse. It is important that people recognize the political implications of any power structure are not necessarily the end-all of social order. Furthermore, it is necessary for practitioners of law as well as the populace to comprehend the inherit fallibility of a legal structure. What is legal is not always morally right. What is illegal is not necessarily morally wrong. One sure fire method to limit a sort of ego-centric worldview is a commitment to middle road, and an understanding that we do not know everything. No matter how intimate or objective we are with a particular situation, we cannot ever really know every single detail well enough to make a completely certain decision.

I do not see Antigone’s inherit difficulty in mitigating her own self-certainty as a necessarily gender-related trait. As noted in Lines, Oedipus as well as many other characters suffers the same sort of blindness. Thus, it is not necessarily a gender-trait to be self-certain. It is a human trait – one that can be damaging not only to the holder of the self-certain beliefs but also to others. Creon is another case in point. Nevertheless, his ability to take council from others and reassess his own decisions is to the benefit of Antigone. Ironically, Antigone herself never achieves this sort of critical thinking behavior and is doomed to her own hubris as the tragic heroine of the story. This same self-sacrificial self-certainty may be seen in the story of Sir Thomas Moore.

It is to this tendency that Lines makes her point. Society in nearly any form is dependent upon common understandings and compromise. Almost nowhere in history do we see successful leaders who do not understand this principle. The more rigid the political players in a power structure, the more likely they are to fail. The more flexible they are, the more they are able to negotiate the challenges of political life. The real tragedy is that in the former scenario, it is not the leader alone who suffers but also his constituents. The so-called implicit rules of society seem to be based in what we could term as the human tendency toward civility. The law is only a rudimentary codification of how we seem to instinctually behave toward one another – the so-called social contract.

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