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Antigone~Human Nature

             Human nature plays an essential role in all of Greek drama. It is usually the backbone of most plots and also the basis behind the moral lessons taught in each play. Human nature is an especially significant aspect of the Greek drama Antigone, by Sophocles. In this drama, Sophocles uses his main character, Antigone, to display his notion of human nature. There are numerous aspects of human nature, although Sophocles chooses to focus mainly on a few of them. Religion, importance of family, and the role of gender are all aspects of human nature that are emphasized throughout this great tragedy.
             Religion in Greek drama refers to a belief in a polytheistic hierarchy, meaning that there are numerous gods with different levels of authority and influences. In the play Antigone, religion steps in to intensify the struggle between Antigone and her uncle, Creon, who is also the King of Thebes. Although these two characters both believe in the idea of a polytheistic religion, their opinions differ on the amount of influence the gods should have on everyday society. Creon believes that all people should obey the laws he has established, even if other beliefs, ethical or spiritual, state otherwise. Antigone, on the other hand, holds the beliefs of the gods in the highest regards. She feels that the laws of the gods should be obeyed above all other laws, especially in regards to family.
             These two conflicting viewpoints set forth an often-popular question in human nature; do gods in Greek religion really have absolute power over mortals? In the play Antigone, the answer would be yes. One example of this is when Antigone defies the will of Creon to provide her brother a proper burial. Once Antigone is accused of committing this insubordination, she defends herself by saying, "Of course I did it. It wasn't Zeus, not in the least who made this proclamation-not to me. Nor did I think your edict had such force that you, a mere mortal, could override the gods, the great unwritten, unshakable traditions" (499-505).

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