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Week 1 Lecture NotePreview•Do citizens have an obligation to obey the law?•Are there unjust laws? And if there are, should we obey the laws?Part I: Sophocles, Antigone1. Background•Antigone was written before 442 BC and won first prize at the Dionysia festival.•Sophocles wrote three plays on the Oedipus (Oedipus King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone), and all three stories are connected.Oedipus King•Oedipus was born between King Laius and the wife Jocasta. He was abandoned as an infant after King Laius heard the oracle that the baby will kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus was saved by a local couple and raised as their son.•Oedipus fulfilled the oracle unintentionally. In the end, Jocasta found out the truth and killed herself, and Oedipus made himself blind and left the city.•Oedipus and Jocasta had four children: Polynices, Eteocles, Antigone, and Ismene. •When Oedipus left, he asked Creon, Jocasta’s brother, to take care of them. Years after, two sons of Oedipus fought for the throne and started a war. Polynices allied with foreign armies and attacked Thebes, his home country, and Eteocles defended Thebes. Two sons died in the battle.2. Story of Antigone•After Oedipus’s two sons killed each other in war, the ruler Creon declared that Eteocles, who died while defending Thebes, will be honored but
Polynices, who allied with foreign forces, will not have a funeral and left unburied. •Antigone decided to bury Polyneices’s body against Creon’s edict and caughtby the guards. Antigone and Creon argued.•Creon imprisoned Antigone in a cave without an exit. Creon’s son, also Antigone’s fiancé, Haemon argued against his father and left him.•A prophet came in and warned Creon that his decision of not burying Polynices’s body will upset the gods and cause great harm to Creon. Creon eventually changed his mind and ran to the cave where Antigone was imprisoned. •When Creon reached the cave, Antigone already killed herself, and Haemon also took his own life. Creon’s wife Eurydice also killed herself after hearing the news of his son’s death.3. Contending moral claims•In Sophocles’s tragedies, we find conflicts between different and competing virtues and moral systems •This creates a tragic situation in which we must choose, while knowing that each position has authority•In other words, Sophocles juxtaposes moral claims that are equally valid andincompatible. In Antigone, characters advocate competing moral claims on the priority of one’s duty to family members and the priority of the city’s law.•We cannot bring these rival moral claims into harmony with each other, so we must choose one.•But, the choice of one does not mean that the rival position has no authority.Moral Duty to Family Members vs the Laws of a Political CommunityCreon: When you honor him and the criminals just alike?