Antigone and Euthyphro

The nature of piety was altercated in ancient literature through the characters of Antigone and Euthyphro. Antigone and Euthyphro’s individual’s beliefs and perception of how rules must be taken were the forces that influenced them to choosing decisions that shaped their recognition about the nature of piety. The life story of Antigone indeed began with a tragedy, which had provoked her to make a decision that changed the course of her life, or perhaps, has become the instrument to ending her life through unjust means. Antigone was trapped in a situation, where she had to choose between what is right based on her conscience, and on what is right based on the legal code of Thebes. Apparently, conflicts were brought by the opposing view of Antigone and Creon on the type of law that must be sustained, referring to the divine law and the human law. Despite this conflicting belief, Antigone was certain that the human law does not surpass the divine law, when it comes to what is morally right for people. For this reason, she stood by her conviction that religious piety supersedes whatever law is created by people, who claim as rulers or kings in this world. For Antigone, even the punishment of death will not defy her devotion to the divine law. Antigone’s views adhere to the idea that there is more to life than being devoted to an earthly government, whose doctrines do not agree with the authentic nature of piety. That is, decisions in life must not dwell on human laws that dishonor the essence of the divine law — the laws, which are there to guide people of what is morally right and wrong. By and large, Sophocles’s Antigone encapsulates the weaknesses of an earthly government, where the elected military leaders reap the benefits of them having judicial authority. Antigone is being oppressed by the tyranny of an earthy government that is ruled by a male leader, whose interpretation of justice violates the divine law. Still, in spite of their oppression, Antigone was willing to sacrifice her life so that Polyneices may rest in eternal peace. No earthly law hindered here to fulfilling her duty to the corpse of her brother Polyneices. In the end, Antigone may have died, but her pious devotion became the instrument to amending the flaws of the justice system in a city that is oppressed by tyrants. The story of Euthyphro, on the one hand, narrates the experiences of Euthyphro as he pushes for the prosecution of his own father, who had murdered a servant. Similar to Antigone, Euthyphro’s desire to let his father bear the consequences of his actions was a result of him believing that what he was doing was a pious thing. However, the presence of Socrates in this story made the character of Euthyphro confused over the real meaning of piety, for Euthyphro has always believed that making his father liable for killing an individual is the right thing to do, and that his father has committed a wrongdoing, which is impious. Socrates was the key to letting Euthyphro realize that his own beliefs of what is pious do not justify the act of being pious itself. Euthyphro agrees to the nature of piety but he did not fully understand how it may apply in seeking for authentic justice not in the eyes of an earthly court, but in the eyes of the gods. He was adamant to defend not his own father, but the victim, who his own father has killed, and for Euthyphro this is deemed an act of piety. It is an act of piety not because it is