In this second essay entitle ‘Dimension of Justice in the Play of “Antigone”, I would like to compare the understanding of “justice” in Creon and Antigone’s point of view as well as the justice’s point of view according the truth. There are number of reasons why I am interested to analyze the term of justice in this second essay. One of them is that it is a challenging issue to discuss. To support the essay, I am using John Rawls’s theory of fairness. The first issue to discuss is the term of justice according to Creon. In the play of Antigone, two blood brothers, Polyneicies and Eteocles battled.
Polyneiceis attacked his state because he felt that he deserved to lead his father’s legacy empire rather than Creon, his uncle. While Eteocles stood on his uncle’s side because he thought none of them (sons and daughters of Oedipus) that were old enough to inherit the throne of his father’s empire. Both of them died in war. Finally, Creon, the King of Thebes at that time proclaimed his decision. Creon made a decision that he would treat the corpses differently. Eteocles would be buried with the honored and completed ceremony because Creon thinks that Eteocles was shed for defending his nation.
Eteocles deserves to be a hero. On the contrary, the corpse of Polyneiceis would be treated oppositely. The body of Polyneiceis would be laid offhandedly in the wilderness without the burial and honor so that the body of Polyneiceis would be a prey of crows and wolves. And for those who touched, moreover buried the Polyneiceis’s body would be executed. According to Creon, the king will have power after using his authority and power. In this case, he will show himself as an impartial king. He is impartial. Even though Polyneicies was his own nephew, because he was considered to be guilty, so
he must get punished. For if he gave a mitigation because of blood relations, he was afraid people would against the laws that he made. That was justice in Creon’s version. The second issue to discuss here is the term justice in Antigone’s point of view. Antigone, a sister of Polyneicies and Eteocles felt that the decision which was announced by the king was not fair. Although Polyneicies died because he attacted her state, but he was still a member of empire, was a brother who must be buried decently. Antigone felt that the laws which were made by Creon contradict with the Gods’ laws.
Antigone draws a distinction between divine law and human law, between the “great unwritten, unshakable traditions” and the edicts of individual rulers such as Creon (502–503). The corpse may not be let offhandedly without the burial ceremony. And people who are still alive that oblige to put on the dead to the hereafter by holding a sacramental. And Antigone decided to held a ceremony for her brother although she knew that whoever that take care of Polyneiceis’s body would be executed by Creon. He insists he would punish Antigone even if she were a closer blood
relative (543–545), and he quite arbitrarily decides at that point to punish Ismene as well. Creon’s rage at Antigone’s “insolence” (536) entirely consumes him, and he acts with a rashness terrifying to all who have heard him claim to hold steady control of the “ship of state. ” However, she didn’t care, she wouldn’t even do it by stealth. Antigone was willing to die to do what she think is right. Antigone is more afraid of Gods’ laws than Creon’s laws that she thinks completely unfair. However, Creon is the man who can still do mistakes. Creon heard that Antigone buried the Polyneicies’s corpse and he
was very angry. Then he punished Antigone a death penalty, although Antigone is his son’s fiance, Haemon. The third discoussion here is the term “justice” according to the truth. Based on the two view points above, then we can see that the problems arising on the basis of Justice caused by differences in the definition of the word justice itself. Each person, in her/his life certainly has a completely different view about the concept of justice itself. Perhaps, King Creon is also true in the concept that anyone, no matter it is a relative or not, if he is wrong should be punished. Polyneicies should be punished
because he was killed while attacking his country, he is considered a traitor. But it may be also true that any kind of Antigone’s error, it is not inappropriate to punish the corpse. Human life is the obligation to deliver the sacred rites to the dead with the hereafter (according to the beliefs of the time, in Thebes). The law created by the King should not conflict with religious law and customs. But when we see more generally. A lot of people that reminded the King to revoke the rule. In fact, the people who should be most upset over the betrayal perpetrated by Polyneicies have forgiven him, but Creon insisted with his law.
Then when we look at this case in the dimensions of social justice, Creon has violated the constraints of social justice in his reign. The King, Creon, should be able to hear the voice of his people, instead of obeying the concept justice according to his version. Here lies the core of the problem in the play of Antigone. In addition, John Rawls’s Theory of Justice presents the concept of justice which generalizes the social contract theory expressed by John Locke, Rousseau and Kant I. abstraction level to a more tinggi. Beberapa important notion of justice as fairness are as follows: 1.
The principle of justice for the basic structure of society is the purpose of the agreement. 2. The principle of justice as fairness is to be accepted principle that people are free and rational to pursue their interests in the original position (the original position) when defining the basic framework of their associations. 3. The default position (original position) related to natural conditions in the traditional theory of the social contract, the hypothetical situation that leads to a particular conception of justice. Examples of justice as fairness is looking at various parties in the initial situation and the equally neutral.
In this original position assumed no one knows his place, position / social status in the community, including his wealth, intelligence, strength, etc. in the distribution of assets as well as the forces of nature. 4. Justice is the result of the approval and fair bargaining between individuals in the original position (the equally rational and neutral). 5. Justice as fairness rejects the principle of utility which receive only the basic structure for maximizing profits without regard to its permanent effects on the interests and rights of this basebecause the principle of utility is not consistent with the conception of social cooperation for mutual benefit.
6. social cooperation should be able to ensure the satisfaction of living, including the distribution of profits for the group / class of the most disadvantaged communities. There are two parts of the principle of justice as fairness according to John Rawls: 1. Interpretation of the initial situation / original position on the issue of options. The default position is the beginning of the status quo which confirms that the fundamental agreement reached is fair. In this case there is no discrimination against the fundamental rights of individuals in society.
Then if we compare to Creon’s version of justice, it’s totally different. Creon precisely uses his power to intimidate Polyneicies. 2. The existence of a set of principles to be agreed. Justice as fairness is a deontological moral theory that does not interpret rights as to maximize the benefits. Rational understanding here is how the most effective way to achieve it. In this case, it is not the purpose that justifies in any ways, as the view of moral according to utilitarianism.
REFERENCES Rawls, Johns. 1997. Theory of Justice, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachussetts.