Antigone: "and Justice for all…"

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Megan Yamamoto

Thill, B.

Humanities Core 1A

October 16, 20

Antigone: “and Justice for all…”

        Sophocles’ Antigone revolves around the issue of how justice is defined and carried out. Both main characters, Creon and Antigone, claim to have the law and Gods on their sides. Each side presents their case with adequate evidence that their reasoning is the absolute truth and that their version of carrying out justice is correct. Creon believes that his power of being king will justify his action of leaving Polynices unburied, while Antigone leans more towards tradition of burial for her form of justice. However, it is their inability to come to a compromise over the absolute definition of justice, in addition to the lack of a solid and unambiguous explanation of the word, which leads their conflict to escalate to drastic heights.

        The Oxford English Dictionary defines justice as the ability to be righteous, fair and truthful when dealing with a certain situation. In Sophocles’ Antigone this definition of justice is partially applied to both Creon and Antigone’s state of affairs. On the one side, Creon gives his outlook on justice through his action of leaving the dead body of Polynices unburied. He believes that justice will be served in this manner to the so-called traitor for fighting against his city. However, on the opposing side is Antigone who believes justice will be served in another mode. Through a defiant act towards Creon, she buries her brother, Polynices, putting her idea of justice into play. Although it can be said that both characters have a generally fair idea of justice towards the situation at hand, the fact that their ideas do not agree is what causes the crisis; the argument is over who’s definition of “justice” is more correct.

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        Creon, the ruler of Thebes, put forth his edict that Polynices was to remain unburied since he fought against the city of Thebes. In this, he invokes the power of the Gods, saying that he is correct in his action to put forth the edict since to properly bury a traitor would bring shame to the city and his reputation as a ruler. The chorus is quick to chime in on this act by stating, “When he weaves in the laws of the land, and the justice of the gods that binds oaths together he and his city rise high,” ...

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4 Stars. A good response to a tricky question.