Lawrence Kohlberg and Antigone by Sophocles
In the play Antigone, Sophocles shows that the decision-making steps taken by Creon, the acting ruler in Thebes during a time of crisis, were made consciously. According to Lawrence Kohlberg in his "Stages of Moral Development , Creon was acting at a Post “ Conventional stage of morality. Lawrence Kohlberg describes those who are at this level as able to decide for themselves what is right and wrong and act according to their own thoughts and memories. Creon's actions prove that before people can right what is wrong, they must first understand why it is wrong.
Creon was acting under the conviction that those who betray deserve nothing better than to die quickly. To him what happens to their body after death is of no matter. He could not understand why Antigone would risk her life to bury her brother. He was also under the impression that all others would agree with his opinion, even the more ethereal beings, "The gods favor this corpse? Why? How had he served them? (Scene 1, Line 107). He was willing to let his own nephew's soul wander just because he was loath to let anyone sway him from his judgment.
Despite his tenacity, he would, inevitably, fall victim to his own stubbornness as he was also ignorant to his disfavor among those who knew all souls should be honored, "The inflexible heart breaks first (Scene 2, Line 78). It was evident, however, that Creon did these things not for fear of punishment, nor for self satisfaction, but just because he believed so strongly that someone who undid his word deserved only death and eternal torment.
At the end of the play an oracle tells Creon what sort of disruption he had caused between heaven and earth and that he would be punished for his inability to see what really mattered. Even then he was reluctant to undo his law, "It troubles me...Oh it is hard to give in!, (Scene 5,