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antigone1 - 1 Connor Dunlop Final"Laws of the Gods Antigone...

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Connor Dunlop Final 11/7/07 “Laws of the Gods” Antigone is a play about a struggle between Antigone and King Creon. Antigone is the main character of the play whose brother has been killed and left unburied outside the city walls. The brother, Polyneices, is not to be touched under King Creon’s orders, and anyone who disobeys the order will be stoned to death. Creon does not want the body to be buried, because he believes Polyneices is a traitor for attacking Thebes and thus does not deserves a proper burial. Antigone is determined to bury Polyneices, and will risk her own life to do so. Antigone appeals to the “law of the gods” to justify her effort to bury Polyneices. King Creon’s will not bury Polyneices due to the fact that he is a traitor; therefore, he does not deserve the respect that the dead are entitled to. Polyneices had been in a dispute with his brother Eteocles over who was in power of Thebes. One thing lead to another and eventually Polyneices left, but would return soon with an army to attack Thebes and regain power. In the battle both Polyneices and Eteocles were killed. The play takes place shortly after the battle and Creon has become the new king. Creon orders that Eteocles be given a burial with full military honors, and Polyneices to be left outside the city to rot. Creon displays his feelings towards Polyneices, “As long as I am king no traitor is going to be honored with the loyal man” (197). Creon feels that Polyneices is a traitor and deserves no honor, because Polyneices attacked his own people. Besides attacking his own people, Creon was also put in harms way, so it is no surprise then that he would like to see Polyneices rot. However, It is not in Creon’s power to 1
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deny Polyneices a proper burial, because this action defies the “law of the gods”. The dispute between Antigone and Creon arises over what to do with the body of Polyneices. To understand why Antigone is so determined to bury Polyneices it is important to look at what the act of burying Polyneices means to Antigone. Antigone and Polyneices are brother and sister, so one reason may be that Antigone cannot bear to let her brother’s body rot in the street. She feels an obligation to bury her brother, even though he attacked her city. Antigone explains her motive to Creon, “This death of mine is of no importance; but if I had left my brother lying in death unburied. I should have suffered. Now I do not” (208). Antigone is unable to see her brother’s body remain unburied, and takes action.
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