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Aaron Freedman Sonnet

Question 2: Socrates Antigone, and Creon in a Post-9/11 World


In their time, the characters Antigone, Creon, and Socrates had very
clear and persistant views on laws, society, and natural order that governed
their lives. But, if they were to be placed in a modern, post-9/11 America,
their ideas would still very much pertain. In the event of Creon, as president
of the United States, starting a war against terrorists and a draft and
Socrates and Antigone opposing it, Socrates would be willing to be drafted,
Antigone would protest the war and draft, and Creon would be willing to kill
anyone who opposed his authority.
Antigone would be very much opposed to the war, and would protest it
and refuse to be drafted. One of the reasons that Antigone would protest
the war and boycott the draft is because she would see it as breaking the
laws of themis, natural order. According to Antigone, harming her fellow
human beings, who may just be innocent civilians, is morally wrong. And no
matter what, even at the cost of nomos, the laws of government and society,
themis must be preserved. When Creon wanted to leave Antigone’s brother,
Polyneices, unburied, Antiogne refused to follow his edict and buried her
brother because he was her family and deserved the proper burial rites.
Antigone would also be unafraid to challenge President Creon, even at the
cost of death. Just as she felt when she willingly accepted Creon’s sentence,
even death is worth the price to pay to save the life of an innocent and
preserve natural order. Antigone is also not afraid to stand up for her
beliefs, despite her age and gender. While the public’s opinion of women and
the youth in modern America has drastically changed since that of ancient
Greece, Antigone’s age sill poses some limits to the amount of action she
would be able to accomplish. But, this would not stop her. Antigone would be
willing to go beyond any taboo to have agency, to get her voice heard. When
coming up with her plan to bury Polyneices, Antigone’s sister and friend,
Ismene, challenges this, saying that Antigone’s age and gender prevent her
and herself from challenging Creon’s authority. Antigone refuses to follow
these sociatal norms, saying simply, “But as for me,/I will bury the brother I
love” (Antigone, Prologue, p.192). Overall, Antigone would be willing to, at any
cost, preserve natural order and save innocent lives.
Socrates would also be opposed to the war, but he would not protest
it and would fight if he were drafted. Despite his personal beliefs, Socrates
would always hold nomos and society’s laws as the utmost authority and would
never break them. Just as Socrates was willing to be put to death in Athens,
he would never, under any circumstances, break the laws of the State, even
in the not seemingly harmful form of civil disobediance. To him, the State is
like a parent. In exchange for getting a free public education, Social
Security, and other benefits of being an American citizen, Socrates would
have to pay taxes and abide by the laws of the government. By breaking the
laws, he would be harming the State, and as such hurting his parent, which
very much goes against the laws of themis and natural order. This is the
same reason why Socrates refused to escape Athens. Socrates also would
refuse to break the laws of the State because he, in a sense, signed a
contract with it. By living in the United States of America, Socrates would
get all of the benefits of American citizenship, with the chance to leave the
country, get rid of his American citizenship, and live in another nation. But,
if Socrates chose to live in the United States, he has to abide by the laws.
By not following the laws of the State, Socrates would be breaking his
contract with the government. This is the same deal that the city of Athens
made with Socrates and all its other citizens, giving Socrates the chance to
leave, but instead he stayed, vowing to follow the laws of the city, and as
such not breaking out of prison. So, while Socrates would not break the laws,
he may try and change them. Socrates, while having no problem lobbying his
senators and repesentitives to get rid of the draft, would still fight in the
war if he was drafted. Socrates would have faith in the government. He
would see more wisdom in the elected leaders of the nation than the wild and
unruly, uneducated masses. If the American populus were to directly make
all of the decisions of the American government, the country would become
chaotic and totally incompetent. So overall, while Socrates would be
personally against the war, he would fight in it if he were drafted, because
for Socrates, following the laws of the State is the only way to preserve
civilization and society.
As president of the United States, Creon would see his war as
justifiable and would punish those who oppose it. Creon would value above all
else, just as he did as king of Thebes, an orderly society. It would make
sense to him to fight a war against terrorists, as they would pose a threat,
if not nessasarily an immediate one, against the government and his
authority. Creon would also be very much afraid of anarchy, the collapse of
the State, and being overthrown. As king of Thebes, Creon also held these
fears, saying that “…from the very beginning…there have been…stiff-necked
anarschists…scheming against me in alleys” (Antigone, Scene I, p.201). These
fears would have stayed with him to the present day, not only justifying his
war against the terrorists, but why he should punish Antigone. While
Antigone would not be harming anybody, merely protesting and exercising
civil disobediance, she would pose a threat to his contested sovreignty. Even
as his neice, Creon would be willing to have Antigone beat, imprisoned, and
even killed. For Creon, nomos and the laws of society come before natural
order, and even one’s family. As for Socrates, Creon would probably leave
him alone, as he would be willing to go off to war if drafted. Overall, for
Creon, keeping an orderly society must be preserved at any cost, even if it
means killing his own niece and fighting a war against innocent people.
The ideas, beliefs, and morals of Creon, Antigone, and Socrates would
still have applied today. The stances of these characters were very strong
and could be applied to any similar senario. With Antigone as the one who
exercises civil disobediance, Socrates as the law-abiding citizen, and Creon
as the iron-willed and stubborn leader, each of these people would have
clearly outlined three very distinct views of society and government in
general. With solid points from many sides, these figures in anceint Greece
could teach modern day, Western society about how to handle conflicts
within the State similar to those in Antigone and “Crito.” But overall, Creon,
Antione, and Socrates have the potential to give a very powerful insight into
a confused and conflicted world.