The conflict between Creon and Antigone in SophoclesÆ tragedy Antigone is one that pits civil (i.e. manmade) law against higher (i.e. spiritual) law. Creon has forbidden Antigone to bury her brother but Antigone disregards the law established by Creon and buries her brother. Antigone understands that transgressing CreonÆs law will carry a harsh consequence, but she believes in a higher law than manmade law and explains that she ôshall suffer nothing as great as dying with a lack of graceö should she not follow the dictates of her conscience and bury her brother (Sophocles 96-97).
Antigone believes there is a higher spiritual force that dictates the behavior of human beings. She believes she must adhere to this forceÆs laws rather than the dictates or manmade laws of Creon. King Creon views his law as the final arbiter of behavior, while Antigone believes a higher law will be the final judge of her behavior and what is just or unjust. CreonÆs ego is involved in her choice to disobey his dictates, ôI am no man and she the man instead if she can have this conquest without pointö (Sophocles 1272). Antigone knows she will face serious consequences for going against civil law, but she believes there is a higher power than CreonÆs laws, which she views as unjust. As Antigone informs those around her as she is being taken to her death, ôI alone, see what I suffer now at the hands of what breed of menùall for reverence, my reverence for the gods!ö (Sophocles 1032-1034).
The dilemma between manmade or civil law and GodÆs law is a conflict that has existed throughout time, perhaps most infamously in the conflict between Sir Thomas More and King Henry VIII. Like Antigone, More went to his death in order to obey the dictates of GodÆs laws, refusing to sanction HenryÆs desire to divorce. In my own life, the conflict between manmade law and GodÆs law has created perplexing choices for me. Most notably, one of my girl