Determining morality has been a key aspect for this year, and somehow our class has managed to bring it full circle. I have just recently read Sophocles’ Antigone and could easily tie it back to a few other books we have read this year, possibly because ancient Greek plays are relatable to almost anything. Having made connections through reading this book however, I have decided to compare it to one of the first books I read for English this year: James Dashner’s The Maze Runner. Both books deal with the major theme of how loyalty or obedience determines morality of a person.
Antigone begins with Antigone telling her sister about how she plans to bury her brother Polyneices, although it is against the law set by King Creon. Ismene does not agree to help Antigone because she does not want to risk death by disobeying Creon. Antigone makes it clear that Ismene mustn’t care about her brother by not helping, whereas Ismene argues that she is just following the rules so she does not end up dead. With this argument there are two opposing views of morality: whether being obedient of authority or being loyal is the more moral thing to be. Antigone would argue that if you love someone, you should risk anything to fulfill your loyalty to them, but Ismene would refute that going against the law is simply out of the question. Neither argument is necessarily wrong, considering both Ismene and Antigone both end up dead in the end. However, Sophocles uses outside characters to make it seem like Antigone’s argument is more valid; he uses the logical Haimon to stand up for Antigone by looking intelligent and voicing the opinion of the public. Creon stands alone in his opinion, only to be backed up by the Chorus and Choragos who truthfully fear his power.
The Maze Runner involves a large group of kids who have been randomly dropped in some sort of maze as an experiment with no way out. When the main character Thomas arrives, he is immediately thrust into a democratic group ran by a select counsel of boys. Each boy in the counsel represents a group of workers for the Glade, where they reside. However, after being given distinct orders not to enter the maze for any reason at all, Thomas goes in to help his friend who has been locked out overnight. This shows Thomas’ morals of being loyal to a friend. Despite the consequences of one day’s banishment to a forest within the Glade, Thomas goes to help his friend in need.
As seen in both The Maze Runner and Antigone morals based on loyalty or obedience are present. By looking at these two works, we can see that society has had an argument between loyalty and obedience for centuries. With a comparison like this between a modern and ancient piece of literature, we can get an idea of society’s general views. Because they have been unchanged since the time of ancient Greece, it is safe to assume that it is human nature to hold morals; whether they are based on obedience or loyalty. The point is, morality is an evolved part of human nature and literature can remind us of that.