I believe that in the play, "Antigone" by Sophocles that one does not obey his or her religious beliefs when they are in conflict with the laws of state because Creon believes that all should obey the laws set forth by him, even if other beliefs in their moral or religious state. But Antigone on the other hand, who is a citizen of this society, believes that the laws of the gods should be obeyed above all others especially when in respect to her family. Creon has a very strong opinion about the laws of the city and the laws passed by him, but does he have the right to let the citizens to believe in the gods of law and to make a decision over one's family member? Many people obey Creon's laws because they fear him as a king and they will keep following Creon's orders as long as he is a king.
Creon has a very strong opinion about the laws of Thebes and the laws passed by him but does he have the right to let the citizens to believe in the gods of law or not? His method of enforcing them is very strict. Creon orders that Polyneices will not be buried because of his dishonor towards Thebes when Polyneices attacked Thebes and betrayed Creon and his people. If anyone is caught burying him they will be killed for disobeying his order. But, that should not still give the rights to Creon whether to bury someone or not, even if their religion is to be buried under water or underground. A good example is when Ismene's regard for Creon's laws, she tries to talk her sister out of burying her brother because of what could happen to her if Creon found out that she went against him. Ismene says "We must obey them.....I yield to those who have authority" (pg, 11) What rights does Creon have to make a decision over one's family member? In this society he has every right, and that is why no one can obey their religious beliefs over the state of law. Antigone stated: "For I had lost a son, or lost a husband, never would I have ventured such an act against the son from him if I had lost a son. But since my mother and father have both gone to the grave, there can be none henceforth that I can ever call my brother." (pg, 24) Antigone honors her brother as much as her father and mother.
Not only do the people of Thebes obey the laws of the city, but because they obey them of fear because it is a shame to dishonor the king. If one were to go against the king and dishonors the king, that person is to die a more shameful death then Antigone's mother and father. But Antigone does not want to let her brother be left without a proper burial. She believes that she must show respect and show her love towards her brother so she must bury him. Antigone believes in "The sacred laws that heaven holds in honor" are far more important than those set by the king. She believes that the king cannot and has no right to override her belief in the gods. Antigone stated that "It was not Zeus who published this decree, nor have the powers who rule among the dead imposed such laws as this upon the mankind: nor could I think that a decree of yours- A man could override the laws of Heaven Unwritten and unchanged" (pg 29)
This play reminds me of a book I read in middle school that I cannot remember the title, but it basically had the same plot in how a king has ruled a world and he can control anything he wants even over religious beliefs. The main character in the book I read wanted to do something of their beliefs in god of their religion and the king would not allow it and just because of his religious beliefs, the king sentence a death to that person. Very similar to the play "Antigone" because Creon is a new king that has total power and can control even one's religious belief and Antigone wanted to burry his brother, but since in the laws of Thebes, Creon would not allow that because he dishonored the people of Thebes. The book I read, the character did not dishonor the King, but he violated a law in that society, no religious acts, which caused him a sentence of death. But, I believe that in the play Antigone that if Creon did not punish Polyneices, people of Thebes would take Creon for granted and think of him as a weak king who can be dishonored without the fear of the punishment. Creon wants to be respected and feared as a king because this will give him more power. I don't believe that he wants to be a bad king by using power for evil things, but he wants to be a strong king and in order to be a strong king, one must be strict and straight to the point in one's decisions.
That is why in this society no one can obey their religious beliefs when they are in conflict with the law. Creon has a very strong opinion about the laws of the city and the laws passed by him but does he have the right to let the citizens to believe in the gods of law and to make a decision over one's family member? Not only do the people of Thebes obey the laws of the city, but because they obey them of fear. If people can not obey their religious beliefs when it comes down to a conflict with the law, then this is not a free stated society, meaning that no one can express their religious beliefs against the law and that is important because if one cannot obey their religious belief when it comes down to a conflict with the law, then they are taught they will go to hell, or another place depending on their religious belief. But, in my opinion it's hard to tell who should get the better side because when it comes down to religious laws versus state laws, then who would get the advantage? My own personal opinion would be for the person with their religious believes to move out to another society and see how it will work there.