How Sophocle's Antigone effectively presents its theme, which is that of human law vs. divine law and the inevitable triumph of the gods.

Essay by PicanteKissesJunior High, 9th gradeA+, November 2003

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There are many principles and themes existing in Sophocles' tragedy, Antigone. The dialogue and action of the play, along with the choral odes, effectively present the themes and principles. The principles that are at stake in the central conflict are the role of gender and the role of pride. However, the major theme of the tragedy is the conflict of interest between human law and divine law.

The conflict between human law and divine law is the basis for the entire plot of Antigone. It all begins because of Creon's regard for the laws set forth by him, which prevails despite his other beliefs. In the beginning, the chorus feels that "when he weaves in the laws of the land, and the justice of the gods that binds his oaths together, he and his city rise high."(77) The chorus is basically saying that if Creon honors the gods while still enforcing his laws, then all will go as planned.

The chorus also warns him of the fate that is to come, if he does not obey the will of the gods. Creon dishonors them by punishing Antigone, and hence dishonor dwells in his city. This is prompted by recklessness as Creon does not think things through. He already decided that his law is above divine law.

Antigone on the other hand, holds the beliefs of the gods in high reverence. She feels that the laws of the gods should be obeyed above all others. She holds the immortal to a higher standard than the mortal. She values the gods and her personal beliefs more than the fickle orders of her rulers, and thus performed proper death rites the gods would approve of, though that means certain death. Antigone has the laws of the divine in mind,