Though the play “Antigone,” is from ancient times, it possess many modern elements. The struggles displayed in the play have survived time and are still relevant today. A popular conflict we see in both “Antigone” and modern day life is the issue of civil disobedience. In the play, we are first introduced to Antigone and the other dominating characters. The Chorus explains that Antigone’s brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, killed each other in battle. When their father died, they were supposed to share the throne, alternating annually. When Eteocles refused to step down for Polynices’ turn to rule, Polynices marched against him and Thebes in hopes for his rightful place. Because of his turn on the kingdom, Polynices was seen as a traitor and ordered by Creon, the next in line to rule, to be left unburried to rot in the open, while Eteocles was to be given a proper burrial.
As any good sister would be, Antigone was torn to pieces about the order given by Creon. She set her mind on giving her brother a proper burial, no matter the consequences. Her sister, Ismene, tried her best to convince her to leave things as Creon said they should be. Afterall, Creon’s word was the law and it was their job, as citizens on Thebes to follow the law. Antigone, unknowingly setting the stage for many to see and follow, went against the law and followed what she saw as morally correct.
Antigone was well aware of the law. She heard the order, understood the order, and even knew the consequences of going against the order. On the other hand, she knew what was morally right, and to her, moral laws were greater than the governing law. She wanted to make a statement, so she suck out to cover her brother’s body. Antigoner’s act of going against the precept that Creon set in place to protest him and make a point is exactly like the protesters in North Carolina who removed the statue of Robert. E. Lee.
In Durham county, North Carolina, there once stood a statue of Robert. E. Lee. A group of activists petitioned to have it removed because they did not agree with what it stood for. When their request wasn’t met, they decided to take it down themselves. Lawfully, and technically speaking, removing that statute was unlawful and considered vandalism. Their morals and beliefs motivated them to exhibit civil disobedience, just like Antigone.
Antigone’s actions were not the first, nor the last example of civil disobedience. Her determination to do what was right over following what was the law is an attitude that still reigns in society today. The play as a whole can be seen as a green light to stand up for what you believe in, even if it means breaking the law. Some people might see that as a negative influence, and for others, it could be exactly the opposite. Either way one takes it, Antigone never leaves out the reality that there will be consequences for civil disobedience.
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