What reasons does Antigone give when asked why she broke the law?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In a sense, the answer to the question can be found in unpacking the meaning of the phrase "broke the law." A crucial issue in Antigone is that there are many different types of law. Laws can be laws of nature (such as gravity) which cannot be broken or human laws which can be changed by human action. Laws can be divine, such as the law of guest friendship enforced by Zeus, or legislated by humans. Even human laws can be traditional or customary or they can be new decrees set forth by individual rulers.

For Antigone, the divine law which commands women to perform funeral rites for family members is the most important law relevant to her case and she is obliged to obey it. In order to obey this divine law, she must break a recent human law put forth by Creon . In other words, she has no choice about breaking a law. The only issue is which law she chooses to break, the law of Creon or the law of Zeus. She decides that of the two, the eternal laws of the gods are more important than the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 566 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team