But the friend/foe calculus, familiar as it may be, fails to maintain the “order” it promises. Stability, always just one more political murder away, proves illusory. When Ivan says in The Brothers Karamazov that the higher harmony is not worth the cost of one tortured child, his declaration is more practical than it might seem at first glance. For not only will another child be tortured, but the higher harmony never comes. Violence in the name of justice cascades from death to death. It happens in Antigone too. First, Creon threatens to hang the sentry if he doesn’t find out who buried Polynices. Upon discovering that it was Antigone, he imprisons her in a cave to starve to death. He ignores the warnings of the seer Tiresias. He blasphemes the gods. Any second thoughts come too late, and by the end of the play not only has Antigone taken her own life, but so have Creon’s son and wife. The corpse, left unburied, has multiplied many times over.
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