A/N: This is a comparison essay I had to write in an English class I had to take, comparing elements in the play Antigone. The prompt was to write a five-paragraph essay comparing whether, based on the events that occurred in the play, the main characters should have obeyed what the Gods expected of them or what men, in this case Creon, expected of them.
I've already turned this in and received a grade for it, a 92 (I was a Sophomore - or tenth grader - in high school when I wrote this), but I'm posting it one here to see how the public would improve it. Meaning: You're not helping me if you just read it and move on. Please write a review or send me a PM. I want to write better, but I can't if I don't recognize how to change what I'm doing wrong.
In Greek mythology, the gods were fierce, overbearing figures who needed to be pleased by the mortals down below them or else great misfortune would strike them. Rules were put in place from the gods to the mortals that protected them from the unfortunate events that could befall them. One of these rules being to bury or burn the bodies of their dead. However, in the play Antigone, Creon began to belittle these laws when he made his decree that no man should even think of going near Antigone's brother, Polyneices, to bury him. This gave the impression that Creon believed his own laws were more important than those of the gods.
Almost all believed gods are thought to be more powerful than the mortals that live here on the earth. Therefore, disobeying the gods would be a grave mistake as the penalty would be far greater than any man's punishment would be. Antigone said herself, "...That final Justice That rules the world below makes no such laws...But all your strength is weakness against The immortal unrecorded laws of God. They are not merely now; they were, and shall be, Operative forever, beyond man utterly." This quote showed how Antigone felt about the punishment of death by Creon versus the punishment that would be dealt to her by the gods. Even she believed that death was the better option.
Mans' laws will always be valued below a god's law. When Teiresias told Creon of the misfortune that would befall him if he remained ignorant, Creon disregarded Teiresias and sent him away. However, the Choragos began to feel uneasy about Teiresias' warning and decided to speak up. Hearing the Choragos's opinion, however, finally encouraged Creon to listen, realizing finally that the prophet was proof that his judgement had gotten out of control. Even the people's opinions throughout the story leaned toward Antigone following the laws of god rather than to follow Creon's decree.
The gods also probably put these laws into effect for reasons that were beyond the people at that time. For example, in the story, the characters would continuously complain about how dogs would begin to tear apart the dead bodies. However, it would probably be infested with other things such as harmful bacteria and other decompository organisms. These creatures could probably cause sickness among the people. All of which could have possibly been avoided if the body had been buried or burned.
Antigone shows a perfect example of the order of importance that laws should be followed in. Imperfect man can never be as wise, or as deadly, as its superior being, the god. Creon, by ignoring this concept, lost everything that was dear to him. If he had only come to realize his mistake earlier on in the story, he could have saved not only Antigone, but also his wife and his son. A lesson to all who read Antigone: Don't underestimate the power of the gods.