Throughout inconvenience to yourself. Some behaviors that society may

Throughout my life, I have gone about my experiences and social encounters with a very different set of morals that may not go along with the norm. I have always had a set of morals and principles that some people might deem slightly immoral, but I don’t care because they have been shaped by my upbringing and are a part of who I am. I believe that blindly following a set of morals, as determined by your parents, religious or other authority figures in your life, makes you a weak individual, who is incapable of executing what needs to be done when the time is right. Morals can act as a mental and physical restriction from doing things that you may want or need to do and can eventually even go so far as to be an inconvenience to yourself. Some behaviors that society may find immoral can include acts such as speeding, stealing, lying or making jokes about ethnicity or sensitive subjects. All of these may sound like things a good person would never do, but in reality many people take part in at least one of these behaviors and it certainly doesn’t make them a bad person. Adhering blindly to morals, restricts the person you can be, and inhibits the potential you could have to enjoy life and take some risks. This is why my opinions on morality may be far different from many others including experts on the topic of moral development such as Lawrence Kohlberg. Kohlberg’s stages of moral development are a psychological theory that states that moral reasoning, has six developmental stages. Kohlberg determined that moral judgment develops through constructive stages and that the process of moral development is primarily concerned with justice, and continued throughout a person’s lifetime. The three levels of moral development are pre-conventional morality, conventional morality, and post-conventional morality. Pre-conventional Morality – this level of moral reasoning is especially common in children, where the morality of an action is determined by its direct consequences in an egocentric manner. A child with pre-conventional morality does not focus on what society thinks is right or wrong but instead focuses on the consequences that certain behaviors may bring. The two stages in this level of moral development are obedience and punishment driven or self-interest driven. During stage one, a child does not want to be punished and adheres to the rules. During stage two, children recognize that others also have needs and may try to satisfy others’ needs if their own needs are also met. They define right and wrong mostly in terms of consequences to themselves. Conventional Morality – this level of moral reasoning is typical of adolescents and adults. Moral reasoning at this level involves judging the morality of actions by comparing them to society’s views and expectations. This third stage of moral development is good intentions as determined by approval or disapproval from society. Stage four is obedience of authority and social order driven and focuses on the importance of obeying laws and social conventions to maintain a functioning society. Post-conventional Morality – this level is also called the principled level and includes the realization that a person’s own perspective may take precedence over society’s view leading someone to disobey rules inconsistent with their own principles. Post-conventional moralists follow their own ethical principles including basic human rights such as life, liberty, and justice. At this level, rules can maintain the general social order and protect human rights but are not absolute dictates that should be obeyed without question. Someone’s own moral evaluation of a situation may be more important than social conventions. Stage five is social contract driven where laws are regarded as social contracts mutually respected as unique to each person or community. The world is viewed as holding different rights, values and opinions that do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. In Stage six, morals are more based on abstract reasoning using universal ethical principles. Laws that are fundamentally just are obeyed while unjust laws may be disobeyed. To say Antigone had her own set of morals in the Oedipus stories, would be an understatement. Creon declared that Polyneices was a traitor to the city, and his dead corpse was to rot outside the city gates, without a burial or any sort of final honor. Antigone was the brother of Polyneices, and having known that he would receive no afterlife honor did not sit well with her. She blatantly went against the ruling because she loved her brother and wanted him to receive the proper burial he deserved, in her eyes. Antigone preached her strong feelings on the matter as she proclaimed, “I would not welcome such a fellowship./ Go thine own way; myself will bury him./ How/ sweet to die in such employ, to rest,–/ Sister and brother linked in love’s embrace– /A sinless/ sinner, banned awhile on earth,/ But by the dead commended; and with them /I shall abide for /ever. As for thee, /Scorn, if thou wilt, the eternal laws of Heaven” (Sophocles 69-76). This evidence in quotation strongly suggests that Antigone falls under the fifth and sixth ┬álevels of Kohlberg’s Theory on Morality, the stages of social contract and universal ethical principles. Stage five states that “morally right and legally right are not always the same thing”. This is shown when Antigone disobeys Creon who very clearly stated that Polyneices was to receive no burial, and buries him because that’s what she thought was morally right. This moral stage is often found in teenagers, and young adults, who have a the ability to make their own decisions on what is moral even if it can be a somewhat disobedient view on life. Antigone was only fifteen years old during the events in the story and was at a point where she was able to allow her own perspective to take precedence over society’s views, or in this case, what Creon dictated. Stage 6 is a hypothetical stage that few people ever reach because it requires the ability to follow a few abstract, universal principles such as equality of all people or respect for human dignity. This stage also goes beyond specific rules while answering to a strong inner conscience and disobeying laws that violate a person’s own ethical principles. Antigone demonstrates some of this ability by disobeying an edict from Creon that goes against her inner conscience and ethical principles. Antigone maintains her respect for basic human dignity by burying her brother and follows the theory that laws that are fundamentally just are obeyed while unjust laws may be disobeyed. From what I have read, I can confidently say that Antigone is most certainly the most moral character of all the stories. Her actions to defy the law and give her brother the burial he so rightfully deserves as a human being, stood out to me as an action that I would do myself if it was my own brother. I don’t care who I disobey or defy because if I think something is the right thing to do, I do it, without hesitation. My true loyalty is to myself, my family and friends and to my own ideals and morals – not to anyone else’s standards or ideals. I see a lot of myself in Antigone in this matter. She’s a bit feisty and hot headed like me and is willing to break the rules to do what she thinks is right. It’s clear that I’m going to select someone who parallels myself. Antigone will always be the most moral in my eyes.

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