Antigone did the right thing by defiling Creon’s strict orders on burying Polynices because the unalterable laws of the gods and our morals are higher than the blasphemous laws of man. Creon gave strict orders not to bury Polynices because he led a rebellion, which turned to rout, in Thebes against Creon, their omnipotent king. Antigone could not bear to watch her brother become consumed by vultures’ talons and dogs. Creon finds out that somebody buried Polynices’ body and sent people out to get the person who performed the burial. Antigone is guilty and although she is to be wed to Creon’s son, Haemon.
He sentenced her to be put in a cave with food and water and let the gods decide what to do with her. He was warned by a blind prophet not to do this, but he chose to anyway, leaving him with a dead son, a dead wife, and self-imposed exile. Antigone had good reasons for her actions. She did obey the rules of her gods, which were that any dead body must be given a proper burial with libations. This would prevent the soul from being lost between worlds forever, along with wine as an offering to the gods (page 518 – side note).
Nor could Antigone let Creon’s edicts go against her morals (lines 392-394). She chooses to share her love, not her hate (line 443). She couldn’t bear to see one family member be chosen over the other because of what a king had decided was right, which she contravened. Why condemn somebody who stood up for what they believed in and is now dead for it anyway? Bringing homage to the family was very important to Antigone (lines 422-423).
The gods’ laws come before mortal laws in Antigone’s point of view, which is also my belief. In death, you will answer to your god, and no man will have control over your fate in the world that lies hereafter. Therefore, by obeying the gods, you will hopefully result in a happy afterlife, which is what most people strive for in ancient times and now. If man does not honor you for noble efforts, your gods will.
Antigone’s act was honorable. She stood up to the highest powers to honor her brother, knowing the consequence would be death. She likely figured that there is only a certain amount that man can do to you, so she might as well stand up for not only her family, beliefs, but also her gods (lines 377-389). Creon could have easily changed his mind, and there were fair warnings. However, his decisions led him to an empty life that could have been avoided if only he had put his pride aside for a while.
Simply because he was too egotistical and temperamental, his son died (line 986) along with his wife (lines 1080-1081), which left him hapless and with a deep sense of deplorable sorrow leading to self-imposed exile (lines 1119-1126). Antigone, Heamon, and Creon’s wife all could have been saved if only one man could have put aside his pride. It is clear that Antigone is not the one who did wrong in this story, but Creon.