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Antigone: The Obedience of one’s Morality

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Antigone: The Obedience of one’s Morality

According to the Bible, after Jesus was arrested by religious leaders, the apostles, his closest followers, fled his side. The apostle Peter was later recognized as one of Jesus' companions by the people who helped arrest him. Peter, however, denied even knowing Jesus three times. Peter believed that, should he remain faithful, he would be granted eternal life by God, and he knew that denying Jesus was a grave sin. However, his fear of his accusers caused him to err, and to stray from what he believed to be right. Today, many of us have been told to "do what you believe is right, no matter what the cost." However, human weakness often causes one to falter, as Peter did, in an attempt to protect oneself. While many people advise others with the aforementioned motto, few will use it to the extent that is insisted upon in Antigone, the extent to which the apostle Peter should have applied it.

Antigone is an outstanding example of someone who did what she thought was right, while she was among fools, many hardships, and people who were discouragingly uncourageous. Although we may not defend the self-sacrificial actions of Antigone, or may not have the strength to do something similar, we should follow principle behind her actions. Antigone believed, as did most people of her time, that a dead person's soul could not rest if that person's body was not buried. Creon, the King, ordered that the body of Polyneices, Antigone's brother, be left to rot unburied because he had died attacking the city, a traitor. This presents a huge problem for Antigone; she feels she must obey the laws of the gods and bury her brother, but the penalty would be earthly death.

Antigone's moral values were so important to her that she was willing to die in order to uphold them. She reasoned that her reward (or punishment) after death would reflect the nobility of her decision--and the reward would last much longer than her terrestrial life. However, Peter believed the same thing, and had complete faith in his beliefs, but did not act accordingly. He became too overwhelmed by the present, and his possible suffering then. It is human nature to fear death, and this overwhelmed Peter's desire to adhere to all godly laws. Such was not Antigone's case; no doubt ever entered her mind as to what she was to do.

Antigone is an almost superhuman example of steadfastness and control. While someone under similar circumstances might decide to defy Creon, as Antigone did, few would not be unnerved by the barrage of obstacles hurled at Antigone. The only person she let into her confidence, Ismene, her only possible source of comfort and fortitude served only to sway her confidence.

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