The Theme of Individual Conscience versus the State in Sophocles(TM) Plays

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The Theme of Individual Conscience versus the State in Sophocles’ Plays

In Sophocles' play "Antigone" he writes about the same themes as in "Oedipus Rex" and places different characters into almost the same horrible, chaotic situations. Sophocles writes strongly about his most important key theme, the exploration of human limits. He also touches on the themes of discovery of self, wisdom through suffering, and the struggle between individual conscience versus the state. Sophocles two plays, "Oedipus Rex" and "Antigone", share many characteristics yet also contrast each other in many ways. He changes some of his themes in the two plays as well as some of the characters attitudes, mainly Creon. No matter how much the two plays differ from one another they have one thing that is the most common between the two, suffering. Sophocles depicts the suffering of each character throughout both of the plays. He also changes the opening scenes of the play to show the way the play will be laid out.

During the whole play of "Antigone" the key theme is individual conscience versus the state whereas in "Oedipus Rex" it is the undying search for truth and discovery of self. "Antigone" Sophocles depicts a political, conscience led woman who is in an unending struggle over right and wrong with her uncle, Creon, the King. All throughout "Oedipus Rex" Sophocles shows a powerful and righteous King who is on a determined search to find the truth and himself. The difference in key themes during these plays are significant. Sophocles took two different approaches towards these two plays. The structure in the way that these two plays are set up are also completely different. The themes that contrast in "Antigone" and "Oedipus Rex" are very different yet help bring the two plays to life. Besides these couple of themes that are different there are many themes that are shown in both plays.

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Many of the themes that Sophocles presents in "Oedipus Rex" are also seen throughout his play "Antigone". Such themes as: wisdom through suffering, hubris, human and divine justice, sacrifice and salvation, and the exploration of human limits play key roles in "Oedipus Rex" as well as "Antigone". Wisdom through suffering and the exploration of human limits are the most important themes that are shown in both plays. In "Oedipus Rex" the people of Thebes, mainly the chorus knew how high a human can climb yet in "Antigone" they imply that mortals have no boundaries. All throughout "Oedipus Rex" the justice ...

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