Jumat, 08 April 2022

Antigone Case, Law Versus Morality


Team of Hukumindo

Previously, the Hukumindo.com platform has talk about "Contoh Surat Permohonan Untuk Mengadakan Arbitrase di BASYARNAS", "Phryne Case, Free From The Death Penalty By Asking For Forgiveness", you may read also "Trial of Socrates" and on this occasion we will discuss about 'Antigone Case: Law Versus Morality'.


Before the story begins, two brothers who led opposing camps in the Theban civil war died after fighting for the throne. Creon, the new ruler of Thebes, had determined that Eteocles would be honored and Polyneices would be humiliated. The bodies of the rebellious brothers will not be sanctified and will be left unburied in the battlefield to become food for vultures such as worms. This was the cruelest punishment at that time. Antigone and Ishmene were brothers of Polyneices and Eteocles. At the opening of the play, Antigone takes Ismene out of the palace gates at night and they meet in secret. Antigone wants to bury Polyneikes' body, against Kreon's orders. Ismene refuses to help him for fear of being executed, but he is unable to stop Antigone's intention to bury his brother.[1]

Kreon entered along with the chorus of the elders of Thebes. He sought support for the days that followed, and specifically wanted them to support his orders regarding the disposal of the bodies of Polyneices. The chorus of elders supports the ruler. A guard enters and reports that Polyneices' body has been buried. Kreon was furious and ordered the bodyguard to find the criminal. The guard left and the Chorus sang in honor of the gods, but after a while the guard returned and took Antigone with him. After sending the guard away, Creon asks Antigone, and Antigone does not deny that he has buried Polyneices. He argues about the morality of Kreon's orders and the morality of his actions. Kreon goes berserk and calls out to Ismene believing he is helping Antigone. Ismene tries to confess that he also committed the crime because he wanted to die with his sister, but Antigone would not allow it. Kreon ordered the two women to be imprisoned.[2]

Haemon enters and declares his loyalty to his father. He initially looks like he's about to dump Antigone, but once Haemon gently tries to convince his father to forgive Antigone, the discussion quickly sours and they insult each other. Haemon then left and declared he would never see Kreon again. Kreon decides to forgive Ismene and bury Antigone alive in a cave. He is taken out of the house, and he weeps over his fate and tries to justify his actions one last time. Antigone is then taken to his "graveyard", while Chorus expresses great sorrow.[3]

Tiresias, the blind soothsayer, enters. He warned Creon that Polyneices be buried immediately. Kreon accuses Tiresias of being corrupt. Tiresias replies that because of Creon's mistake in leaving Polyneices unburied and burying Antigone (the soothsayer does not say that Antigone should not be put to death, but states that it is not good to bury people alive), he will lose his own son.[2] All of Greece would reject him, and the sacrifices offered by Thebes would not be accepted by the gods. Chorus was frightened and asked Kreon to accept the suggestion. Kreon is shaken and agrees to free Antigone and bury Polyneices. The chorus then offered an ode to the god Dionysus (god of wine), and a messenger then informed them that Haemon had committed suicide. Eurydice, Kreon's wife and Haemon's mother, enters and asks the messenger to tell him everything. The messenger then reported that Haemon and Antigone had committed suicide; Anigone hangs himself, and Haemon stabs himself upon seeing Antigone's body, soon after Polyneikes is buried. Eurydice then disappeared into the palace.[4]

Kreon came in and took Haemon's body. He realized that it was his own actions that had caused the incident. A second messenger arrives and informs Kreon and Chorus that Eurydice has committed suicide. On her last breath, she cursed her husband. Kreon blamed himself for everything that had happened and asked his servant to help him. He was still king, but he had acted against the gods and as a result lost his wife and children. The chorus concludes the play by saying that although the gods have punished the proud, punishment brings wisdom.[5]

Law Versus Morality

Reading Antigone's manuscript will torture you with a series of abstract questions about how law is presented and binds society? Or can a law that contradicts morality be called a law?, to what extent can human morality be justified as an excuse against a law that actually exists? et cetera[6]

In the tragedy of Antigone, Sophocles describes the people of Thebes as having doubts in their hearts in carrying out the orders of their ruler, the moral view of the ancient Greeks at that time considered that every soldier from his city who died on the battlefield must be buried by the people of the city itself, even the goddesses.[7]

Olympus is said to have sent a sign that they wanted Polyneices to be properly buried. In the end, it was Antigone himself who buried Polyneices with an offering of worship, not only driven by the morals of society in general but also his conscience as a blood-bound family member.[8]

Imagine yourself as Antigone. Will you bury Polyneices or will you leave his body lying on the battlefield? If you reject the king's orders on the basis of morality do you think it is justifiable?[9]

If your understanding of morality is a noble value that is universal in that society has formed a consensus that it is a good value, I think that reason can be used. However, if your understanding is as narrow as morality as the value of a certain group that is imposed in a heterogeneous society where everyone may have different opinions, then debate is a necessity. In the end, whatever the choice we will face the legal consequences of every action we take. For Antigone? The consequence is death.[10] And if you have any legal issue, contact us then, feel free in 24 hour, we will be happy to assist you. 

*) For further information please contact:
Mahmud Kusuma Advocate
Law Office
Jakarta - Indonesia.
E-mail: mahmudkusuma22@gmail.com


1. "Antigone (Sophokles)", id.wikipedia.org., Diakses pada tanggal 7 April 2022, https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigone_(Sophokles)
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. "Antigone dalam Pusaran Hukum dan Moralitas", medium.com., Oleh: Hizbullah Hanif, Diakses pada tanggal 7 April 2022, https://medium.com/gmni-fh-ugm/antigone-576aa9e7da61
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid. 

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