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What is the main theme of "Antigone"?

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brownell | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 12, 2008 at 5:18 AM via web

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What is the main theme of "Antigone"?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 12, 2008 at 10:18 AM (Answer #1)

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This play is one of the first to deal with the theme of civil disobedience. Creon believes that the needs of the state are supreme and it should be obeyed at all times. Antigone believes in a higher law, one that directs her conscious and her religious beliefs. Antigone, therefore, obeys that higher law and she is willing to suffer the consequences for her disobedience. The same theme has been reflected in the writings of Hanry David Thoreau, Ghandi, Martin Luther King and others who believed that sometimes one must break the law in order to obey a higher power. However, they also said that one must be willing to suffer the consequences of that disobedience. Eventually, the morality of your disobedience will overcome the tyranny of the state. That is exactly what occurs in "Antigone". Although Antigone dies because of her beliefs, eventually Creon sees the error of his ways.

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morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted November 12, 2008 at 6:17 AM (Answer #2)

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A main theme in "Antigone" is the role of custom. The play asks the audience to consider if tradition and what is right ever come into conflict, and how is that conflict to be resolved. Antigone is not supposed to bury her brother, but her love for Polyneices causes her to do so. This decisions leads to the major conflict in the play.

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