Conflicting Values in Antigone

In the play "Antigone" by Sophocles, Creon and Antigone have
distinct conflicting values. Creon\'s regard for the laws of the city
causes him to abandon all other beliefs. He feels that all should obey
the laws set forth by him, even if other beliefs, moral or religious,
state otherwise. Antigone, on the other hand, hold the beliefs of the
gods in high reverence. She feels that the laws of the gods should be
obeyed above all others, especially when in respect to family. Creon
has a very strong opinion about the laws of the city and the laws
passed by him. His method of enforcing them is very strict. In
"Antigone" Creon orders that Polyneices will not be buried because of
his dishonor towards Thebes. Furthermore, if anyone is caught burying
him they will be killed for disobeying his order. Polonieces is
Antigone\'s brother. He is being punished because he attacked Thebes
and betrayed Creon and the people of Thebes. Creon\'s harsh punishment
on those who disobey the law makes many fear him and dare not to go
against him. One example is Ismene\'s regard for Creon\'s laws. She
tries to talk her sister out of burying her brother because of what
could happen to her if Creon found out that she went against him.
Ismene says "We must obey them.....I yield to those who have
authority"(5). Not only do the people of Thebes obey the laws of the
city because of their fear but because it is a shame to dishonor the
king. To go against the kings claim and dishonor the law is to die a
more shameful death then Antigone\'s mother and father(59-60). Antigone
does not want to let her brother be left without a proper burial. Her
belief is to show respect and love towards her brother she must bury
him. Her beliefs in "The sacred laws that Heaven holds in honor" are
far more important than those set by the king(Antigone 78). She feels
that the king cannot override her belief in the gods. Antigone feels
very strongly about burying her brother against Creon\'s orders. She
refused to back down from her opinion even when confronted by the king
and sentenced to death. Antigone reasoning is: "It was not Zeus who
published this decree,Nor have the powers who rule among the dead
Imposed such laws as this upon mankind; Nor could I think that a
decree of yours- A man-could override the laws of Heaven Unwritten and
unchanged"(450-455). She goes on to say that she does not want to go
before the gods after she had disobeyed them because of a decree made
by a mortal king(458-459). The loss of a brother is greater to
Antigone then the lose of any other kind. She says, "For had I lost a
son, or lost a husband, Never would I have ventured such an act
Against the city\'s will. And wherefore so? My husband dead, I might
have found another; Another son from him if I had lost A son. But
since my mother and father Have both gone to the grave, there can be
none Henceforth that I can ever call my brother"(907-914). To Antigone
this is another reason to honor her brother; as she honors her brother
she is honoring her mother and father as well. Creon, being a new
king, wants to prove his abilities as king.He is being harsh, so the
people of Thebes don\'t take him for an easy king and other problems
arise. Creon feels that if someone dishonors the city in which he
rules they must be punished. If Polyneices is not punished then
Creon\'s power may be taken for granted by the people of Thebes. They
would think of him as a weak king who can be dishonored without fear
of punishment. Creon wants to be respected and feared as a king
because this will give him more power. He does not want to be a bad
king, using his power for evil things, but a strong king. However in
order to be a strong king, one must be strict and firm in one\'s
decisions. That is the kind of king that Creon is. Creon is a strong
king because Thebes is important to him. He wants to be respected.