The Good Life Essay
Fulfilling obligations to others is an important aspect of our lives, it is how we become social, and how we are able to live in a community. However, our obligations may sometimes come in the way of another’s sense of truth, or wisdom; what then? How should one manage, deal, and encounter this conflict? That is the main problem. We will see what the readings Antigone by Sophocles and Siddhartha by Hesse both teach us about how to address the conflict. We can argue that when one is confronted with this conflict, one can attain happiness if he or she questions him or herself whether the obligation and the solutions to fulfill it both respect basic human moral standards. In other words, one should find solutions that are “right”…show more content… Siddhartha’s obligation here is to leave and discover the good life on his own, for him, leaving his family is the necessary solution (Hesse 7-8). In contrast, his father opinion is that he should stay (Hesse 9). Thus, both characters have different viewpoints and opinions on what should happen. In Antigone, Kreon’s obligation is to restore order, balance and peace in the city of Thebes (Sophocles 27-28). Thus, his opinion is that he should punish enemies and be a tyrant to fulfill this obligation (Sophocles 27-29). In his mind, it is the “right” thing to do. Antigone’s obligation, on the other hand, is to honor and take care of her family (Sophocles 21). Thus, she believes that the “right” thing to do is to bury her brother Polyneices despite Kreon’s command to leave him to rot for his betrayal (Sophocles 21). Here Antigone and Kreon have different obligations, but these obligations lead to a conflict of opinions on the actions that need to take place: Antigone thinks Polyneices should be buried in respect of the laws of the gods and Kreon thinks the opposite because he believes in the laws of the men (Sophocles 22-23).
In these examples, we can see that the main characters of the readings have different viewpoints, therefore, different obligations. We can also argue that this generates the problem that is the conflict of opinions…show more content… In Antigone, Antigone’s solution contrasts with Kreon’s solution to the extent that her actions follow basic human moral standards; she wants to bury her brother, respect and honor him (Sophocles 22). On the contrary, Kreon’s solution falls into the category of what is “immoral” since he orders to leave the body of Polynices to rot in the sun for the animals (Sophocles 29). In the end, Kreon has to face the consequences of being alone and guilty for the suicide of Antigone, his son Haimon, and his own wife Eurydice (Sophocles 71-75). Therefore in the end he does not find the good life because of the violence that his actions caused. In addition some could argue that a self-indulgent life could be qualified as immoral and not “human” and when Siddhartha takes this path, he ends up alone, suicidal and does not find enlightenment (Hesse 67-79). Therefore, we can say that both authors stress the fact that one cannot end up happy if he betrays the laws of what is “right”; In Siddhartha it is Buddhism and in Antigone it is the laws of the gods. In addition, we could argue that Antigone and Siddhartha are similar characters in their story because they both seek what is “right” according to the authors, and they give us an example of how one should react in such