Antigone, Sophocles, c. 441 B.C.E.
1.You, with your eyes fixed on the ground — speak up.
2. Do you deny you did this, yes or no?
3. I did it. I don’t deny a thing.
CREON (to the Sentry):
4. You, get out, wherever you please — You’re clear of a very heavy charge
5. You, tell me briefly, no long speeches — were you aware a decree had forbidden this?
6. And still you had the gall to break the law?
7. Of course I did. It wasn’t Zeus, not in the least, who made this proclamation, not to me.
8. Nor did that Justice, dwelling with the gods Beneath the earth, ordain such laws for men.
9. Nor did I think your edict had such a force that you, a mere mortal, could override the gods,
10. the great unwritten, unshakeable traditions. They are alive, not just today or yesterday:
11. they live forever, from the first of time, and no one knows when they first saw the light.
12. These laws — I was not about to break them, not out of fear of some man’s wounded pride,
13. and face the retribution of the gods Die I must, I’ve known it all my life —
14. how could I keep from knowing?—even without your death-sentence ringing in my ears.
15. And if I am to die before my time I consider that a gain. Who on earth, alive in the midst of
16. so much grief as I, could fail to find his death a rich reward? So for me, at least, to meet
17. this doom of yours is precious little pain. But if I had allowed my own mother’s son to rot,
18. an unburied corpse — that would have been an agony! This is nothing. And if my present actions
19. strike you as foolish, let’s just say I’ve been accused of a folly by a fool.
20. Like father like daughter, passionate, wild... she hasn’t learned to bend before adversity.
21. ...There’s no room for pride, not in a slave, not with the lord and master standing by.
22. ...I’m not the man, not now: she is the man
23. if this victory goes to her and she goes free. Never!
24. ...Creon, what more do you want than my arrest and execution?
25. Nothing. Then I have it all.
26. Then why delay? ...Enough. Give me glory! What greater glory could I win
27. than to give my own brother decent burial? These citizens here would all agree,
28. [to the CHORUS.] they’d praise me too if their lips weren’t locked in fear.
29. [Pointing to CREON] Lucky tyrants — the perquisites of power! Ruthless power to do and say
30. whatever pleases them.
31. You alone, of all the people in Thebes, see things that way.
32. They see it just that way but defer to you and keep their tongues in leash.
33. And you, aren’t you ashamed to differ so from them? So disloyal!
34. Not ashamed for a moment, not to honor my brother, my own flesh and blood.
35. Wasn’t Eteocles a brother too — cut down, facing him?
36. Brother, yes, by the same mother, the same father.
37. Then how can you render his enemy such honors, such impieties in his eyes?
38. ...Eteocles died fighting our behalf.
39. No matter — Death longs for the same rights for all.
40. Never the same for the patriot and the traitor.
41. Who, Creon, who on earth can say the ones below don’t find this pure and uncorrupt?
42. Never. Once an enemy, never a friend, not even after death.
43. I was born to join in love, not hate — that is my nature.
44. Go down below and live, if love you must — love the dead! While I’m alive,
45. no woman is going to lord it over me.
Sophocles. "Antigone." Classics.mit.edu. Trans. R. C. Jebb. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
According to lines 7-19, Antigone broke the law because