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Creon decrees that Polynices' body "...must be left unburied, his corpse... an obscenity for the citizens to behold." The ancient Greeks, however, were required by divine law to bury their dead.

Why then does Sophocles describe Polynices' unburied corpse as an "obscenity" and not a crime?


Polynices was a traitor and, therefore, didn't deserve burial.


Polynices posed a threat to the city's security that bordered on the obscene.


As the offspring of an incestuous relationship, Polynices had been an obscenity since birth.


Proper burial is a human right; to leave a body unburied is thus not a "crime" but something worse.


Polynices' fight with his brother went against the laws of nature and morality and was thus obscene.

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