Maintaining seems to apply in government and community.

Maintaining
equilibrium within nature is crucial for systems to function at optimal levels,
and when there is an imbalance, conditions shift in order to compensate and
restore the system to its natural state. 
The same idea seems to apply in government and community.  When something is corrupt or there is an
imbalance, by nature, the events that follow help restore things to their
natural state.  In Sophocles’s Antigone, Antigone challenges the man-made
law created by her uncle, and upholds the natural law.  In ancient culture, Greek tragedy playwrights
would incorporate the world’s inevitable need for natural order and balance
with a string of misfortunes that would bring society and government back to
working at optimal levels.  The need for
balance is widely understood by society as a whole and events that bring about
restoration are accepted as by divine will. 
Instances such as the great storm, the decline of Lear’s sanity, and
societal stereotypes targeted at Edmund are prime examples of disturbances of
the natural order being represented within the play.  This also raises thought that if balance is
so culturally valued, then the divine inspires it rather than enforces it.  It takes a wise character to bring about
balance and clarity to others, as many must ask whether they are willing to die
to maintain the balance of the natural world. 
In Sophocles’s Antigone and
Shakespeare’s King Lear we see cultures
that value natural order which in return motivate people to maintain balance
within society by means of treason, guiding, and sometimes death.

Moral
obligations inspire characters to challenge the crown when natural order is
being threatened by crooked royalty. 
With the disruption of the balance throughout Thebes, Antigone takes a
stand to defend the word of the gods, proving to be very grounded in her faith
and values.  Antigone prioritizes her
duty to her brother and goes against the word of her uncle Kreon, the king, and
willingly puts her life at risk to give him a proper burial.  It was accepted by the people that her
brother’s soul would not be able to reach the afterlife if his body is not
buried.  Kreon declares Polyneices a
traitor and orders that his body shall not be buried.  This decree arrogantly places the word of the
crown above the word of the gods, which seeks that every human is buried upon
death.  Antigone validates the authority
of the natural order when she boasts to Kreon that his arrogance as “a mere
man” could never “bully {her} into breaking the god’s laws” (490 and 496).  Even though the
natural laws are “unwritten” she represents the voice of the people as she coins
them as also “infallible” (35.492).  When
the chorus realizes that the body of Polyneices has been buried and then
recovered, they remain poised because although human law has been disregarded, when
“{man} follows the laws Earth teaches him – and Justice which {man} is sworn,
the gods he will enforce” (405-408). 
They are confident even though laws may be broken, that justice will be
restored throughout the land and that the words of the divinity will be upheld
to maintain balance throughout Thebes. 

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Like
Antigone, the Fool goes against his own better judgement and shadows Lear
beyond the castle, due to his deep sense of moral conviction toward Lear and
the kingdom.  The Fool’s words of wisdom
and his role as a voice of reason for Lear almost diminishes Lear’s position as
holder of the crown, as he is exposed as more vulnerable and human.  The reversal of hierarchy does an excellent
job of demonstrating how man is imperfect and in no comparison to divine rule.  Henceforth, Wisdom seems to provide balance
throughout the novel, despite the character it is coming from.  Lear’s restraint on Cordelia seeking marriage
and abdication of his throne can be thought of as his own undoing of the natural
order, which later leads to his own extrication.  He also seems to be mentally fading into his
own shadow at the end of act one while he is being lectured by the Fool.  The Fool tells him that he “shouldst not have
been old till {he} hadst been wise” (I.V.43-44).  The fool is essentially saying that he has opposed
the will of nature and is now suffering with the deterioration of his own
mental state.  He realizes that the Fool’s
guidance is keeping him sane, and that he needs the Fool to “keep {him} in
temper, so {he} would not be mad” (I.V.45-46). Lear is begging the Fool to
keep him balanced and sane as it is becoming apparent to him that he has
disturbed natural order when he divided his throne and his family in a very selfish
manner.

 Throughout King
Lear, Edmund, although criminal, is seldom answered or provided with any
sense of divine justice until his own discriminations are brought to the
attention of his fortunate brother Edgar. 
As the tragedy progresses, justice seems nonexistent as a character as
filthy as Edmund continues to thrive after several sinister acts. The duel
between Edgar and Edmund is really a conflict that replays this ongoing battle
between good and evil, as Edgar’s defeat of Edmund points towards the triumph
of righteousness over fraud.   Edmund
turns his father against his legitimate son Edgar so that he, his illegitimate
son, could gain the throne.  Although, the
impartialities of society coin Edmund as a ‘bastard’ despite him being the firstborn;
after he pulls the wool over Gloucester’s eyes, Edmund and Edgar become the
“loyal and natural boy” respectively (II.II.98).

 Now that Edgar is just natural and supposedly
plotting against his father, primogeniture is reestablished; however the throne
is still in the hands of evil.  When the
two brothers come face to face balance is reinstated in both the divine and
natural worlds.  Although Edmund’s
actions are evil, he was not in sync with the manmade ideal that the conditions
of his own birth as make him less of a human. 
Clarity is brought to Edgar, when he sees the injustice which unethically
burdens his brother’s life while he is incognito.  His mangy furs and dreadful odor trigger Lear
to lash out and say, “unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare,
forked animal” (III.IV.113-115).  The
title of a ‘bastard’ which Edmund has been ‘accommodating’ seems to put the pieces
together for his sibling who has not been harassed and degraded by society his
entire life. Edgar is sympathetic when he bares justice upon his older brother
and admits that “{he} is no less in blood than… Edmund” which grants the social
justice and acceptance Edmund has been searching for his entire life (V.III.201).  Edgar reminds his brother that “the gods are
just, and of {their} pleasant vices” (V.III.204).  Edmund allows his brother’s words sink and consents
the truth to mend his wounds.  Both the
natural and manmade orders seem to be coexisting with Edmund acknowledging that
“the wheel {has} come full circle” (V.III.209).

 Unjust deaths and suicide are tragic but are
questionably by the will or nature of people as they seek to maintain balance
and order for the gods.  Therefore, the
injustice that came from society classifying Edmund as a bastard and the
scheming against family for power with Edmund, Goneril, and Reagan, has
dissolved which caused equilibrium to be reestablished in both worlds.  Justice is evident and satisfying when Cornwall,
Edmund, Regan, and Goneril die.  Their
deaths are easily justified and enforce the idea that the gods restore order to
a chaotic world. However on the other hand, Cordelia’s passing also raises new
questions about the true role of divine justice.  Despite her apparently absurd death, Cordelia’s
decease is superfluous but also significant as helps the idea of divine power
come full circle as Edmund suggested. 
When Edmund finally is given the approval he has been searching for, he
has a sudden change of heart and wishes to “some good…despite {his} own nature”
as he tries to spare Cordelia and her father (V.III.291-292).  Although she did not deserve death, the great
number of deaths was what ultimately resulted in a new slate for the kingdom
and a balance between nature and society. 
The divine justice became the rebirth of the kingdom and promised that
whoever was next in line would have a fresh start succeeding the chaos of the
previous family; however, these characters can be thought of martyrs as they
nobly die for their own convictions but also for the restoration of a stable
society. 

Looking
at Sophocles’ play, the need for balance and motives given by religion seem to
be the trigger for rash acts which tragically restore natural order.  The best example for this is the suicide of
Haimon and Eurydike.  Their deaths were
not a direct result of divine intervention but they acted as punishment to Kreon
for challenging divine power.  Because
his father would not spare Antigone, Haimon was left heartbroken and in despair
which led him to take his own life.  Nature’s
need to seek and achieve balance arguably motivated the essential suicides of
Haimon and his mother, so that justice could be served to Kreon.  The deaths of both Antigone and Cordelia were
overwhelmingly tragic and unjust; however, with nature’s desire to maintain
balance, death was necessary.  Kreon did
not mind killing Antigone, but because it prompted the death of his own son and
wife, he realized like Edmund, that his actions were much greater than himself.  Overall their deaths became obligatory to not
only reinforce the strength of divine power, but also to demonstrate that the
divinity functions to be a mediator for the natural world when the faults of
man need to be cleaned up. 

Events
that extend beyond the control of the people are thought to be done on behalf
of

the gods, because
culture seeks an explanation that justifies misfortunes.  Many interpretations of things in nature,
including weather, are often thought to be divine intervention.  Often these events serve as clarity points
for characters in distress, and are often explained as omens from the gods.  Weather is the best example of chaos beyond
the control of the people.  Both in King Lear and Antigone, a large storm followed disorder as it seemingly
represented the disapproval from the gods. 
King Lear yells in a rage at the storm, which is almost a plea to the
gods to “crack the molds of nature… that make ingrateful man” (III. II. 9-10).  This suggests that the events leading up to
the storm disrupted natural order and the storm illustrates the evident imbalance.  It is also a signal that things are going to
be cleaned up soon, and one must just wait out the storm.  Lear essentially tells the Fool that not even
the most camouflaged criminals and creatures can evade the wrath of the tempest.  All crime and sin will be washed away as the
gods “find their enemies… that hast within thee undivulged crimes” (III.II.54-55).  The storms, although chaotic, ensured that at
the end natural order would be replenished. 
The storm serves almost as a baptismal ritual, a cleansing of the soul
and world, while also returning balance between man and the divine.  Similarly, in Antigone, the nature plays a similar in mirroring the chaos within
the royal family and kingdom.  When Kreon
places his edict above the words of the gods, it results in chaos throughout
the land.  Once Kreon condemns Antigone,
the Elders describe a great “storm that pounds in” which brings about “wild
stormwinds of Thrace that churn up black sand from the seafloor” (638). 

Storms
can be thought of as reflections of the imbalances between the divine and man,
as the divine enact these occurrences to motivate man to establish stability
independently. Following the storm, Haimon tries to stress to his father that
“Thebes aches for {Antigone}” (768).  He
presents his father with an analogy to the weather to try to get him to rethink
his decision.  He tells his father to
“think of trees caught in a raging winter torrent: Those that bend will survive
with all their limbs intact.  Those that resist
are swept away” (789-791).  Just like the
trees, Kreon is relentless and refuses to bend. This instance is not the last
time that Kreon refuses advice that could aid his fate.  Animals, aside from weather, are another part
of nature that can also be used to symbolize earthly chaos.  In Antigone,
Tiresias, the blind prophet, explains to Kreon the birds are fighting each
other.  This also seems to represent the
imbalance that King Kreon has created. 
Not only is Thebes disturbed, but madness is manifesting in nature which
indicates commotion among the divine rulers. 
The seer also mentions that “birds were tearing at each other with
lethal talons” and will not tell of the future “with flesh torn from the
wretched course of Oedipus’s fallen son” (1109 and 1124).  The prophet’s visit, almost serves as an act
of compassion from the gods, giving Kreon another chance to spare Antigone
before things get ugly.  His warnings of
the birds and prideful behavior hint at all the corruption he has caused, but
the king is unwavering with his word. Kreon is
persistent about Haimon “throwing away his judgement” whereas his son is
adamant that “it is never shameful for a wise man to keep learning” from his
mistakes (719 and 786). As a result, Antigone knowingly goes to her death, with
the thought in mind that “what {she} did, the wise will all approve” (905). Consequentially,
the majority of Thebes is distraught with the king’s abandonment of many
crucial religious rituals. Teiresias, the blind seer, accentuates not only
nature but also Haimon’s pleas when he digresses that “when a man blunders, he
won’t be stripped of his wits and strength if he corrects the error he has
committed and ends his stubbornness” (1133-1136). The prophesy and the blindman’s
visit are thought to be an offering of advice from the gods in effort to
motivate Kreon to take one last opportunity to restore order on his own before
other measures are taken.  Wisdom is consequently
paralleled with balance.

In
Antigone and King Lear we see a culture that values divine rule which
subconsciously motivates a sense of morality within the society to maintain
balance between man and nature.  Several
interpretations of the text suggest it was idealized by the ancient culture
that the gods had a hand in essentially everything that happened.  All things were thought to occur for a reason
whether it may be a storm wiping out a kingdom, animals inspiring a prophet to
warn a king about his corrupt crown, or people acting rashly to preserve or
restore justice.  Characters that
displayed wisdom including the Fool, Kent, and Tiresias all seemed to be
anchored deeply within their own integrity which allowed them to offer wisdom
and create or help others create balance during a time of disorder.  The leader concludes Antigone with his statement to “never fail to respect the gods, for
the huge claims of proud men are hugely punished” (1514).  Kreon is so defeated that he had to be
carried off stage which leads one to conclude that a new ruler will soon take
over and the tragic deaths of the innocent were necessary to bring about
justice to the king and bring the kingdom back to equilibrium.  Characters such as King Kreon and Edmund are excellent
instances of corrupt rule that tastes righteousness at their own expense.  When these tyrants make their orders beyond
the means of man and above divine order, everything eventually “{comes} full
circle” (V.III.209).  The trials and
tribulations of Edgar and especially Antigone are prime examples of
revolutionary leaders who were not afraid to spark a revolution.  Edgar gave up his fortune and pride to
protect his father and Antigone sacrificed herself in order to uphold the
religious values of her society in the face of the adversity from her local
authority.  Both texts strongly value
family which is a priority that is widely appreciated throughout most
cultures.  Justice triumphs evil in
literature and within the world.  It is
our duty as people to follow the outstanding leadership displayed by these
characters and uphold our morals in the face of adversity. It simply requires a
brave individual with a faith strong enough to live for and a cause loved
enough to die for.  Anyone as rash as
these individuals can spark and revolution and change an individual, a city, a
country, and even the world.  The
uprising merely starts with what one believes and what one is willing to stand
for.