The myth of Antigone depicted in a series of 7 photographs - "Monument of the Congo", Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels


The tragedy of glorifying colonialism

Antigone (Greek: Ἀντιγόνη) is a tragedy written by Sophocles around 440 BC

Antigone was one of the four children that Oedipus had with Iokaste. When Oedipus learned that Iokaste was actually his mother he blinded and exiled himself from the city of Thebes, leaving his two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices to rule the city in turns.

When Eteocles' turn was over, he refused to pass the throne to Polyneices who in return revolted against his brother. As a result they killed each other providing the opportunity to Creon, the brother of queen Iokaste to become a king. The theme of the play is the decision of Antigone to bury Polyneices against Creon's will, whose order was to leave his body unburied to rot - the ultimate act of humiliating an enemy.

Sophocles imposes the question if what is legal is also just and which law has greater value; man's or Gods'? On the one hand we have Creon who as the king of Thebes is by default expressor of the established state authority, while on the other Antigone represents Gods' law with her decision to honor her dead brother. Creon states that there is no worse thing than anarchy, while Antigone replies that state law is not absolute and that civil disobedience is acceptable in cases such as honoring the Gods whose rule outweigh that of the king. The right of citizenship obtains divine properties since Gods' law is tangential to what is right for the citizens.



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