Antigone: Divine Law vs. Human Law

Antigone: Divine Law vs. Human

Law

The play entitled Antigone was written
by a man named Sophocles, a scholarly author of philosophy and logic. The
play Antigone is probably one of the most prominent interpretations of
a tragic drama. The two main characters of the play are Antigone and Creon.

There is much conflict between Antigone and Creon throughout the play,
both of them having their own ideas and opinions regarding divine law versus
human law. The theme that I am going to analyze is the conflict of divine
law vs. human law. The reason for this is because this theme seems to control
the whole play. It is an issue of which law is the "right" law, and if

Creon's and Antigone's acts were justifiable.

The play Antigone can be summarized by
the following: King Creon lets it be known that Polyneices the traitor
is not to be buried, but his sister Antigone defies the order because of
the values she holds. She is caught, and sentenced by Creon to be buried
alive - even though she is to be married to his son Haemon. After the blind
prophet Tiresias proves that the gods are on Antigone's side, Creon changes
his mind - but too late. He goes first to bury Polyneices, but Antigone
has already hanged herself. When Creon arrives at the tomb, Haemon attacks
him and then kills himself. When the news of their death is reported, Creon's
wife Eurydice takes her own life. Creon ends up being all alone due to
the fact that his family members took their own lives. Creon blames himself
for all of these tragedies occurring, mainly because it was his wrong doings
that caused them.

The concept of divine law can be described
as the law of God. Divine law involves morals and beliefs that are presented
by God. Charles Segal describes the idea of divine law as being the "unwritten
laws of the Gods" (Sophocles 64). This type of law is most likely in effect
when the idea of morals are apparent, such as when a moral decision must
be made. This type of decision would probably be considered right or wrong.

Divine law is not only in decisions, but also in the everyday actions of
people. Things that are morally "right" are in accordance with the law
of God, while things that are morally "wrong" tend to be actions that go
against the law of God. Divine law may not apply to those who do not believe
in God. Even those who do believe in God may not follow this type of law
because they do not think that this law will have any type of impact upon
their lives. Most people are very skeptical about whether or not the laws
of god are truly upheld.

Human law is the type of law that is set
up to govern the land and the community. As it is stated on the internet
site, Encyclopedia.com, human law can be characterized as "rules of conduct
of organized society, enforced by threat of punishment" (Encyclopedia.com"law"). Human law is usually set up by the head of a community or by the
governors of the land. This type of law is normally enforced by people
known as officers or guards. They make sure that the law of the land is
followed accordingly. There are people in communities that do not follow
the laws that are put into effect by humans. This is apparent in the play

Antigone, when Antigone herself disobeys a law that was set up by King

Creon, a law that went against the beliefs she held towards the law of
the Gods.

The issues between Antigone and Creon is
what the whole play is basically all about. Charles Paul Segal wrote in
his essay "Sophocles' Praise of Man and the Conflicts of the Antigone"
that:

The characters, like the play itself, have
many levels which fuse organically, sometimes indistinguishably, into a
complex unity; and here the confrontations of the two protagonists create
an ever-ramifying interplay between interlocking and expanding issues (62).

The issues that Antigone and Creon have
between them are what ties this whole play together, and the theme is also
developed with the use of their issues between each other and what they
believe in.

Both Antigone and Creon have their own
ideas of what is "right" and what is "wrong". This is to say that we should
not make assumptions about whether or not something is right or wrong,
unless the answer to that is apparently clear. Antigone believed that the
actions she took were done for the right reason, because they