Society vs. self

In both Sophocles' and Freud's work, there is a corruption of society caused by the conflict of societal constructs and a person's internal distinction between what is truly right and wrong. While a literary example is used to have the reader determine for themselves if the protagonist of 'Antigone' is right for pursuing what she thinks is virtuous in the face of certain doom, Freud analyzes specific case studies of seemingly neurotic patients in order to draw up an overarching conclusion of how the average human person operates on a mental level in an effort to see why people act the way they do despite what society says is morally correct. Both works contain characters that act monstrously in comparison to their respective community’s standards, and make an effort to explain that background and motivations of people determine why the act in such a seemingly unscrupulous way. The following gallery captures the disconnect between societal and individual morality, and what leads them to separate ends.

A general interpretation of anything is important as it influences overall perspective and the actions that follow. In 'Antigone,' Creon is the interpreter of law, and his decisions result in the life or death of any civilian under his command, as "a city belongs to its master" (Sophocles 34). For Freud, he considers himself the interpreter of dreams because a "medical teacher plays an interpreter," leaving him as the genuine, final authority on the subject, even though an analysis may come out differently if it were taken over by someone else (Freud 19).
Though societies may desire a population with the same code of ethics to achieve utopia, it is simply impossible to have a large group of people to feel the same way about all social problems. Though Creon tells Antigone that "(she) is the only one in all of Thebes that thinks that way (about her actions)," Antigone does not care if she is wrong in the eyes of everyone else because it felt right to her (Sophocles 23). In a different light, Freud says that "to avoid contradicting their belief, people overlook the sexual activity of children" so that they may feel that their thoughts are correct even though there are facts that contradict a certain flawed mindset (Freud 387).
When one partakes in unethical behavior, fate has a habit of bringing those actions full circle. Creon realizes that though he followed the law, he severed familial ties that he can never regain, leading him to ask himself "on whom can I lean?" (Sophocles 59). In regard to the same theme of repercussions from unethical behavior, Freud notes that "repression is the precondition for the construction of symptoms," showing that when left alone traumatic events can lead to possible neurosis and hysteria (Freud 364).
While doing what is constituted as wrong by an institution (in this art piece, the church) may have repercussions, there is always a way to repent. While Freud says that symptoms of hysteria stem for some former trauma, "overcoming resistance is the essential function of analysis," showing that one must fight through one's inner turmoil to be absolved (Freud 361). Furthermore, in an act that served as a way of penance for her husband, both Creon's wife and son commit suicide due to the actions of the unmerciful king.
This is a reminder of how when internal feelings go unbounded, 'monsters' manifest themselves whether rational thought is used or not. Freud stresses that "we must not concern ourselves with what (a) dream appears to tell us" because there is logic unconsciously hidden that explains why things appear as they do in dreams (Freud 139). Creon follows this concept of rational thought when he realizes that though he acted in a way he thought was just in waking life, in the end “everything (he) touches turns against him" (Sophocles 60). Though common rationale is seen as righteous in every day life, when removed from the situation monsters of a symbolic variety tend to come back to haunt.
Just because society as a whole may have different moral views than the individual doesn't mean other individuals in the same society don't feel the same way. Though Antigone's sister Ismene was reluctant to aid her sister to put their brother to rest, she eventually changes sides after debating the issue to her self, proclaiming that she wants to be Antigone's "shipmate in suffering," knowing that there will be a penalty for disobeying the law (Sophocles 25). In the same respect that Ismene supports her sister despite inevitable doom, Freud views his procedures in a similar light as he gives "confident assurances of the success of the treatment," though it might not work out in the end (Freud 17).
Even though actions may be taken that are morally right in the eyes of society, other people are left to deal with the consequences of some behavior. Though Antigone is understandably upset because of the disrespect taken toward her deceased brother, Creon lacks much sympathy and punishes her anyway, leaving "no one in mourning" for her (Sophocles 40). Similarly, Freud states that "by words one person (another) to despair," showing that what someone says has implications that can deeply impact another person's well-being (Freud 20).
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