Sophocles' Antigone - Antigone as Bad Citizen


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Antigone – The Bad Citizen

 

Being a good citizen often involves doing something out of the ordinary to help others. Sometimes, that involves going against the will of others to do what the good citizen might think is best. Although this is traditionally the case, the biggest factor in being a good citizen is great respect for the nation in which one lives. If one wants to be a good citizen, he or she might go out of his or her way to help others, however, must do so within the rules of the nation. In the Greek Drama by Sophocles, entitled Antigone, the hero, Antigone, shows, what I would call, bad citizenship. How is this? Why is she being a bad citizen?

The setting of the drama is in a fictional kingdom known of as Thebes. This kingdom is basically run by a set of rules and laws. Whether they are necessary or not, these rules must be obeyed. In Thebes, one of the rules states that Antigone's brother is not allowed to due a respectable death and therefor, will not have a proper funeral. Antigone is torn apart by this. Her brother whom she loved very much will not be able to have a respectable funeral. She explains in the drama how much she disagrees with the rules of the land. Because of this disapproval toward the law, she takes it upon herself to remove the corps of her brother from it's assigned post so she can do whatever she wants with it. She has broken the law. Although what she is has done is the right thing to do in her mind, the law states that it is not allowed. Throughout the drama, she consults her sister, Ismene, about whether or not she feels though she should commit this crime or not. Ismene makes it clear that she should not and attempts to discourage her sister from doing what she did. Contrary to the advice of her sister, Antigone does indeed commit this crime for she feels that it is what a good person would do.

To the average American, Antigone's actions might be considered the right thing to do.

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Here, the law is able to be challenged. We might even go far enough to consider what she did good citizenship. Unlike American law, the law in Thebes is not able to be challenged. In fact, the people of Thebes feel strongly that what Antigone did was wrong. Good citizens do what will benefit the entire country or land of which they are citizens. Antigone did not do this, and therefore, she is not a good citizen.

Works Cited

Sophocles. "Antigone." The Three Theban Plays. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.


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