What is the main theme of Antigone?

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Scholars have explored and debated a number of themes for Sophocles's ancient Greek tragedy, Antigone, including fate versus free will, laws versus justice, moral law versus man-made laws, divine law versus human law, civil disobedience, the politics of power, women's rights, family rivalry and family loyalty, and the consequences of decisions based on the tragic flaw of many, many Greek tragic heroes, hubris.

Certainly elements of all of these themes are represented in the play, but none of these themes is maintained intact through the play. At one time or another, each of these thematic elements is compromised, or is otherwise too insubstantial to be sustained.

The only element of the play that remains constant and uncompromised throughout the play is Antigone's personal integrity.

Early in the play, when Antigone appeals to her sister, Ismene, to help her bury their brother, Polyneices, Antigone expresses her personal integrity in simple, straightforward terms.

ANTIGONE. Lend me a hand to bear...

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