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Review of “Antigone” Play by Sophocles

Multiple themes are covered in the famous play by Sophocles. Despite the importance of love for family and other essential topics, the playwright particularly emphasized the issue concerning the origins of law and the conflict between the natural law and the new type of civil law that developed rapidly at the time. Therefore, it is crucial to realize the original motivation stat stand behind the characters’ actions in order to understand which of the two types motivates people more and allows for harmony in society.

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Ancient Greek cities had a complex network of social norms that explained the necessity to perform certain actions in order to show respect to or honor fellow citizens. One of them implied the custom of collecting all the dead after a large battle to bury them. Therefore, according to this type of law that is rooted in religion, Polynices should be buried. At the same time, Creon demonstrates a contrasting approach by claiming Polynices to be a traitor. The new ruler of Thebes announces that his statement is enough to revoke the ancient law and that “there is nothing worse than disobedience to authority”. However, due to different factors, Antigone decides that she still has to bury her brother.

There are various ways to approach the issue of citizenship. Many modern societies now tend to emphasize citizenship as a formal contract between the government and a person. Nevertheless, I believe that such an approach seems to undermine the very idea of social contract. The symbolic meaning that connects a person to its people should not be diminished, as it significantly enhances the sense of belonging and the willingness to contribute to society’s wellbeing in the long run. Moreover, the highlighted importance of customs rooted in natural law serves as a crucial social institute in many societies, enhancing the way people communicate with the government. Therefore, under the circumstances described in the play, I would follow natural law.

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