Civil Duty Vs Injustice in Antigone

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 710 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 710|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraph 1
  3. Body Paragraph 2
  4. Body Paragraph 3
  5. Conclusion


Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone presents a complex interplay between the concepts of civil duty and personal morality, as epitomized by the titular character and her uncle, King Creon. Written in ancient Greece around 441 BCE, the play explores the ramifications of defying state laws in favor of familial loyalty and divine mandates. Antigone's determination to bury her brother Polyneices, despite Creon's decree that traitors should be denied proper burial, sets the stage for a profound conflict between civil obedience and moral righteousness. This essay examines the themes of civil duty and injustice within Antigone, analyzing how the characters’ adherence to or defiance of societal norms and laws elucidate complex ethical dilemmas. By scrutinizing the motivations and consequences of Antigone and Creon's actions, we gain deeper insight into the perennial struggle between upholding societal order and resisting injustices perpetrated by those in power.

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Body Paragraph 1

At the heart of Antigone lies the stark opposition between Antigone’s moral convictions and Creon’s rigid enforcement of state laws. Antigone’s actions are guided by her belief in divine law and familial duty, which she considers superior to human decrees. Her determination to bury Polyneices stems from her understanding of the gods’ expectations and the inherent dignity owed to family members, regardless of their actions in life. This moral stance is deeply rooted in the ancient Greek value system, which placed significant emphasis on honoring the dead. Antigone’s defiance of Creon’s edict underscores her assertion that civil laws are not infallible and can be unjust when they contravene higher moral principles. Her willingness to face death for her actions highlights the intensity of her convictions and raises questions about the limits of state power and the legitimacy of laws that conflict with personal ethics.

Body Paragraph 2

In contrast, Creon embodies the principles of state sovereignty and the importance of maintaining civic order. As the ruler of Thebes, Creon is tasked with upholding laws that ensure the stability and security of the state. His decree against the burial of Polyneices is intended to serve as a deterrent against treason and rebellion, reflecting his belief that the stability of the state takes precedence over individual desires and familial loyalties. Creon’s stance is rooted in the notion that laws, once established, must be obeyed to prevent chaos and anarchy. However, his unwavering adherence to this belief blinds him to the moral complexities of the situation and alienates him from the empathy and understanding that are essential qualities of a just ruler. Creon’s failure to consider the ethical implications of his edict ultimately leads to personal and societal tragedy, illustrating the dangers of an inflexible approach to governance.

Body Paragraph 3

The conflict between Antigone and Creon also highlights the broader theme of individual conscience versus state-imposed justice. Antigone’s resistance is not merely an act of familial loyalty but a profound assertion of individual conscience against what she perceives as an immoral law. Her actions resonate with contemporary discussions about civil disobedience and the moral duty to oppose unjust laws. Similarly, Creon’s rigid enforcement of his edict can be seen as a critique of authoritarian governance that prioritizes law and order over justice and human dignity. The tragic outcomes of both characters underscore the need for a balance between civil duty and moral integrity. Antigone’s martyrdom and Creon’s ultimate realization of his hubris serve as poignant reminders that laws devoid of ethical considerations can lead to profound injustices, and that true justice requires a harmonious integration of legal authority and moral conscience.

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In conclusion, Sophocles’ Antigone provides a timeless exploration of the tension between civil duty and personal morality. Through the characters of Antigone and Creon, the play delves into the ethical complexities that arise when state laws conflict with individual conscience. Antigone's unwavering commitment to divine law and familial duty, contrasted with Creon's rigid enforcement of state sovereignty, illuminates the profound challenges of balancing societal order with moral justice. The tragic consequences faced by both characters serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy, ethical reflection, and the recognition of higher moral principles in governance. As contemporary societies continue to grapple with issues of legal authority and moral righteousness, Antigone remains a pertinent and thought-provoking work that underscores the enduring struggle for justice and the role of individual conscience in challenging systemic injustices.

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Civil Duty Vs Injustice In Antigone. (2024, Jun 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“Civil Duty Vs Injustice In Antigone.” GradesFixer, 07 Jun. 2024,
Civil Duty Vs Injustice In Antigone. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
Civil Duty Vs Injustice In Antigone [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 07 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
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