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The Stand
Stephen King
David McCullough
Antigone - Sophocles, Richard Emil Braun A masterpiece that transcends the passage of time! How incredibly relevant this nearly 2,500 year-old drama is!

While I couldn't even begin to enumerate all of the fascinating subtleties that are contained within this work, I will mention a few aspects that I believe will stick with me for the long haul.

Antigone herself. What a strong character! Not afraid to defy the laws of men, when they offend her sense of duty and her personal morality. She was unwilling to bend her own code to that of Creon's, and for that steadfastness, she paid with her life. But would her life have been worth living had she compromised? For someone with as strong a will as her, certainly not.

Creon was also a wonderful character. Not because he was likable--quite the opposite--but because he was full. He started off with the appearance of a cruel, power-thirsty dictator, evil to the core; but as the story progressed, and he learned of his own impending doom, how quickly did his tune change! Creon, then, was no maniacal autocrat drunk with an aggrandized view of himself, but a mere coward, desperate to appease any force stronger than himself to be able to keep his crown and his life.

The themes that struck me most were those of hubris, of the discord between the morality of the self and the morality of the state, of reverence for human dignity in death even if s/he who died was not always deserving of our sympathies, and, more subtly perhaps, the dangers of obeying the laws of (the) God/gods when they contradict the laws of man; the former may save your soul, but at the cost of your flesh. But is this sacrifice guaranteed its just reward? Can we ever know (the) God's/gods' desires?

For Antigone, the answer was clear; Polynices must be honored, even at the cost of her flesh. And I admire her greatly for that conviction.