Throughout history, civil disobedience has been repeatedly seen. Many countries and communities have used this tactic as a way of rebelling against a symbol of authority. In Antigone civil disobedience is a main concept that drives the story’s plot and helps to characterize certain individuals. Throughout the play, civil disobedience is regularly seen in the struggle of one person to defy laws in order to achieve her goals. This form of resistance movement, as seen in real life, has major influences in the points of view from which people look at each side of the argument.
Many people may identify with the ones that will stop at nothing to achieve their goals and their ideals. In the play, Antigone, the main character, is most likely characterized as that. Her passion for her principles push her to go beyond boundaries in order to get what she’s looking for — in this case, a proper funeral for her bother. As a result she defies Creon (the king), his rules and laws and all the authority that both represent. When Antigone and Ismene are arguing whether they will go against the very foundation of their legislative system, Antigone states that, “We [them] are bound to go out and bury our brother [Polynices].
That’s the way it is. What do you think we can do to change it? ” (Anouilh, 23). Antigone states that in order to change the unjust law and unfair treatment towards her brother’s corpse she must take action. Thus, it is their duty to fight for her principles even if that means disobeying the law. That’s what, as she implies, they can do in order to change this government and have their voices heard. As a result of many people having the same idea of following through with their principles until their goal is reached and stopping at nothing, neither pain nor legal obstacles, a fairly large part of readers identify with Antigone’s argument.
Thus, civil disobedience is portrayed as necessary in order to change society and make it better. The idea of civil disobedience being detrimental to a community is also portrayed in the text. Creon, the crowned king, is a totalitarian leader who states that one of his nephews (Eteocles) should have a proper funeral whereas his other son (Polynices) was forbidden from having a honorable service. His argument was that one brother was more deserving of honor than the other one.
After this law stating the different burials for each of the brothers is passed, he punishes Antigone for attempting to break it. He states that no one should be allowed to break the law. His idea of civil disobedience is that it is not justifiable in any means and should not be tolerated. When talking to his son, Haemon, about his decision of punishing Antigone, Creon states that, “I [Creon] am a master under the law. Not above the law” (Anouilh, 61). Creon believes that everyone should follow the very basis of every civilized society, its legislation.
Many people believe that rules, laws and amendments should not be broken as well. For them, it is an outrage to even think about practicing civil obedience even if the law is not fair to someone. They believe that the law is there for a reason, to be followed. As a result, a big chunk of readers identify their ideas more with Creon’s argument. Thus, they see this play as a way of propagating the idea that laws are supposed to be followed and never to be broken. The idea of a legislation’s supremacy is also conveyed through the play.