“In a true tragedy legitimate moral forces must come into collision on both sides”

“In a true tragedy legitimate moral forces must come into collision on both sides”

Hegel asserted: “In a true tragedy, legitimate moral forces must come into collision on both sides.” This idea can be developed on the example of “Antigone”.

The tragedy is written on the mythological plot of the Theban cycle. It is not part of the trilogy, as it was in Aeschylus, but is a complete work. The author shows the contradictions between the laws of the divine and the arbitrariness of man and puts above all unwritten divine laws.

In the tragedy of “Antigone” Sophocles reveals one of the deepest conflicts of his contemporary society – the conflict between generic unwritten laws and state laws. Religious beliefs, rooted in the depths of centuries, into the ancestral community, prescribed to the person to venerate blood and kinship

ties, to observe all ceremonies concerning blood relatives.

On the other hand, every citizen of the policy was obliged to follow state laws, which sometimes sharply contradict the traditional family-generic norms.

Creon is a supporter of strict observance of state and written laws. Antigone, above these laws, sets family-family laws sanctified by religious authority. That’s why she bury Polina’s brother, although the state law forbids it, because Polinik is a traitor to the motherland and unworthy of honor to be buried and mourned. Antigone, for the sake of his brother, a blood relative, must do everything that the laws prescribed by the gods prescribe, that is, he must bury him with observance of all ceremonies. For her husband, according to Antigone, she would not have gone on to violate state law, because her husband is not a blood relative.

Creon does not count with traditional tribal laws and sentences Antigone, who violated the state law, to death.

Sophocles sympathizes with Antigone and depicts it with great warmth. A great tragedian wanted to say with his work that for the happiness of citizens of the policy, unity between state and family-clan laws is necessary. But since the class state of the times of Sophocles was far from his ideal, Sophocles not only sympathizes with Antigone, but depicts Creonte in the form of a despot and a tyrant who covers personal cruelty with words about the welfare of the state. Condemnation led Creon to repentance and self-flagellation.


“In a true tragedy legitimate moral forces must come into collision on both sides”