Antigone

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Themes and Colors
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Antigone, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus mocks the blindness of the seer Tiresias, who responds by telling Oedipus that he (Oedipus) is blind to the corruption in his own life, and soon will be literally blind, too. Issues of blindness and sight aren't quite as obvious in Antigone, but the same basic tension is there. Tiresias gives the current king, Creon, a warning, and the king is unable to see the wisdom of…

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Creon, as head of state and lawgiver in Thebes, believes in obedience to man-made laws. But in defying Creon's command that no one bury Polynices, Antigone appeals to a different set of guidelines—what is often called "natural law." Whether its source is in nature or in divine order, natural law states that there are standards for right and wrong that are more fundamental and universal than the laws of any particular society.

Antigone believes…

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The concept of citizenship and the duties that citizens owe to the state were subjects of huge importance and debate in fifth-century B.C.E. Athens, where Sophocles lived and where Antigone was first performed. Antigone and Creon represent the extreme opposite political views regarding where a citizen of a city should place his or her loyalties.

In the play, Creon has a strict definition of citizenship that calls for the state to come first: "…whoever places…

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Creon says that the laws enacted by the leader of the city "must be obeyed, large and small, / right and wrong." In other words, Creon is arguing that the law is the basis for justice, so there can be no such thing as an unjust law. Antigone, on the other hand, believes that there are unjust laws, and that she has a moral duty to disobey a law that contradicts what she thinks…

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The ancient Greeks believed that their gods could see the future, and that certain people could access this information. Independent prophets called "seers" saw visions of things to come. Oracles, priests who resided at the temples of gods—such as the oracle to Apollo at Delphi—were also believed to be able to interpret the gods' visions and give prophecies to people who sought to know the future. Oracles were an accepted part of Greek life—famous leaders…

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