In english class we has a group discussion about whether law is more important that morality.
Some people believe there to be things that everyone can decide upon to be moral and those things are to be law, and the rest of the laws to be a guideline framework to figure out the morality and what punishment should be made for situations where the morality may be unclear. But actually I think what people find to be moral is dependent on the personal culture and traditions the society of that time have to be the most dependant on what kind of law system is upheld.
In the play we are reading, Antigone, the traitor Polynices, is sentenced by the king to have his corpse laid unburied outside of town with anyone who dares burry him being punished a death sentence. What made his sentencing of the corpse being unburied so important and un-honourable is the specific time and place of the people. In Ancient Greece there was the belief that an unburied body would be never get to rest and move on to the afterlife. So what people did was always wash and burry the bodies. It was thought that even the greatest enemies must put aside their resentment in death and allow each other their burial rites. This time of Ancient Greece, culture and tradition of burying bodies, are what lead to the King Creon creating a law that would cause a death sentence to anyone who buried the body of Polynices. This law created the conflict of Antigone choosing her moral values of burying Polynices over following the law of King Creon as she deemed it more important that following tradition.
But in both of these cases there is one more factor which is leading to their actions. Personal agenda.
King Creon’s personal agenda in not burying Polynices body is not about the tradition or spirituality, he isn’t even sure if it is the correct body as they were turned to mince meat. His agenda is to set an example to his kingdom so no one will dare try betray him. This personal agenda is what makes him disobey his traditional values to create this law. Antigone does not actually truly care for her brothers, they were never good to her she had no reason to be. What she is trying to do is to sacrifice herself for something she deems to be a worthy cause so that she may be killed as she is not brave enough to continue living in a world and grow up.
What law is, how it is created, and whether or not we follow it, is made up of, what we consider moral; which is made up of our cultural and traditional beliefs, and is finally all decided by whether it fits our personal agenda. Something we that will cause harm to ourselves like dying or killing loved ones can even fit into a personal agenda if one decides it is for the best, even if it harm them emotionally or physically.
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