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Michael Freeman and Ross Harrison

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199237159

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199237159.001.0001

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Antigone and the Nature of Law

Antigone and the Nature of Law

Chapter:
(p.137) 8 Antigone and the Nature of Law
Source:
Law and Philosophy
Author(s):

Tanja Staehler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199237159.003.0008

This chapter argues that Antigone is a tragedy about law and its inherent conflicts. The nature of the human as it emerges from this tragedy has to include an understanding of the human as a creature entangled in law, or specifically, as both creator of and subject to laws. There is an essential tension at the core of law. On the one hand, it is the nature of law that it has to be conceived as something unchangeable, like the sacred laws which Antigone invokes to justify her actions. On the other hand, laws are either created by humans or at least receive their specific formulations from humans, and in that sense, they are open to criticism and modification. It is shown that approaching the law from the outset as open to changes and interpretations means not to treat it as a law.

Keywords:   Hegel, Antigone, law

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