Throughout history, there have been various cases in which the people of a nation have to take the matter into their own hands in order to bring justice to everyone. Civil disobedience is a right that an individual has to oppose an unjust law in a manner that is passive. Not only is it a right but it also ties into being a responsibility of the people to fight against laws that may be unjustified to ensure the safety and happiness of everyone as a whole. In Antigone by Sophocles, Creon and Antigone stand in opposition to each other as Creon believes that it is rightful to follow civil law in order to prevent chaos in Thebes while Antigone respects the divine law of the Gods and her own morals. Antigone was right to defy Creon and his unjust government that condemned the burial of Polyneices as she was following the will of the gods and her ethics, however, Creon’s intentions enforce the law was to protect Thebes.
Firstly, Antigone proves her loyalty to her family by disregarding the law of Thebes that prohibits burying her brother. She believes that it is her duty to prove that Polyneices is just as deserving as Eteocles who was given a proper burial with military honors. In spite of her brothers killing each other she still views both worthy of their family’s respect, so she is willing to go to the extent of endangering her own life to honor Polynices. After attempting to gain the support of Ismene she solely goes on to bury Polynices even when her sister refuses to help her as she does not want to put her sister in a position that will threaten her. Additionally, Antigone was determined to protect her family as she was disposed to accept any penalty given to her , so that her sister would be freed. When Creon brings in Ismene to sentence her, Antigone refuses to confine her punishment and take all blame as she states, “No more, Ismene. You are alive, but I belong to Death.” Antigone was willing to take full responsibility for her actions knowing the fate caused by her ramifications to allow her sister to be set free even though both of them conspired about the burial. She sticks to her beliefs that family comes first over anything as she does not deny that she was the one that buried Polyneices. Her love for her family has led her to death but she is willing to die to keep the honor of her family.
On the other hand, Creon had the intention of keeping his country safe and keeping order by following civil law. He states, “Polynices, who broke his exile to come back with fire and sword against his native city and the shrines of his father’s gods… is to have no burial.” He perceives Polynices as a threat to Thebes as he was the reason behind the chaos that existed due to him causing a civil war to reclaim his throne. Creon fails to consider that Polyneices belong to his family and should understand that Ececoles was being greedy by not allowing his brother to reign when it was his turn. However, Antigone put the divine law of God before the law made by man. Antigone responds to Creon stating, “your edict, King, was strong, but all your strength is weakness itself against the immortal unrecorded laws of God” (Sophocles 1035 lines 59-61). The people of Thebes are highly influenced by the Gods as it attributes to their successes and failures, so to disrespect them means to condemn yourself to their punishment. She rather suffer for going against Creon that to anger the Gods that are superior to Creon. Antigone believes that it is right to follow the law of God’s over civil law which can be changed if it violates the Gods.
Finally, Antigone is persistent to prove that burying her brother was the rightful thing to do. When Antigone states, says “but I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy: I shall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as he to me,” she makes it clear that God’s laws are more important in contrast to the laws created by a king. (Sophocles lines 55-58). Antigone’s values were based on divine law which supersedes the laws of Thebes, so her actions were in favor of the Gods which should have her being praised instead of being sentenced to death. Being a strong woman, she was prepared to fight for her own beliefs. Furthermore, Creon encounters Teresitas and then understands that he has upset the Gods, realizing that his stance on the situation was wrongful, which provokes him to free Antigone. Creon himself discovers that his actions were unjust as they violated the Gods. In return he has to suffer the consequences of crossing the divine law of the Gods. Antigone was willing to sacrifice herself in order to prove that her actions were justified .
Antigone was right for burying her brother as she believed it was the rightful thing to do to keep the honor or Polynices. Antigone fought for her beliefs and stuck to her morals which led her to be praised. Creon was a tyrant to his people by condemning Antigone to death when she was following the law of God’s. Civil disobedience is necessary in order to rid one of the unjust laws that are oppressive.