Sophocles – Antigone

Versailles, France

Litterature – and every other earthly book – do not help us one bit in solving the eternal riddles and dilemmas of life, they just provide us with a beautiful wrapper. A beautiful wrapper for what may seem to be the only end : 

The agony, the heartbreaking agonies of our lives

Antigone, Sophocles

The agony of dilemma and choice is all over Sophocles’ tragedy. Antigone struggles to answer one question : should she obey her king, leave the body of her treasonous brother to the dogs and vultures ? Or obey the gods and blood, and give a proper burial for Polynices ? Haemon has to choose between his father and king and his bride and love, Antigone.

As for Creon, he seems fixed on his Hobbesian view on the unrestricted power of the earthly ruler :

But than man,

the city places in authority, must be obeyed

large and small, right and wrong


Show me a greater crime in all the earth

King Creon Antigone, Sophocles

It seems that all the riddles of our lives stem from the one question : which authority should I obey ? God and conscience ? Blood and family ? Love for a woman ?  Earthly power or all mighty god(s) ? As Ovid said, a divided loyalty tores one’s heart in opposite directions.

As always, it seems one’s best and safest choice is the satisfaction of the gods 

Reverence towards the gods must be safeguarded

Sophocles, Antigone