Gender In Antigone

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Examining Contrasting Themes of Gender in Myth Through The Furies and Antigone Throughout the history of the written and oral tradition, gender has come to be represented through countless scopes and perspectives. Authors, poets, lyricists compose works that reflect and highlight either society’s ideals of gender or their own. Even though gender has come to be depicted through many different perspectives, often times in literature archetypal gender portrayals run rampant. Women are usually categorized into a couple neat boxes: the virgin, seductress, mother/wife, and witch. Masculine depiction faces similar fates, but typically are more dimensional than their female counterparts. Within Greek mythology, these archetypes are played out, Penelope…show more content…
In The Furies Athena is in a place of power and allowed to exercise it. She is a warrior goddess, protecter of the city, purveyor of wisdom and so much more, despite being a woman. This a sharp contrast with the women in Antigone, both Ismene and Antigone are effectively second class citizens and lack any power. The difference between them being Antigone at least seems to command some agency of her own and resists, where Ismene surrenders to helplessness. While Athena appears to be the embodiment of an empowered woman, perhaps even the opposite of Ismene, upon closer inspection they in fact share qualities. Ismene refuses to violate Kreon’s decree and at this point Kreon is effectively “the guardian of the house” so to speak—he reigns over Thebes. Athena implies in lines 736-740, that she would not go against Zeus, who is the ultimate guardian because “she will always the child of her father” (Aeschylus, The Furies, 736-40). Both women give precedence to their male counterparts and theoretically obey their will. Antigone, on the other hand, does not consider her status as a second class citizen, only the injustice of the law. The fact that Athena is a goddess instead of god is striking because her complete lack of any connection to fertility or the earth, who is personified as a woman. Additionally, she is one of the three virgin goddesses, so she takes no husband and bears no children.— in fact she shuns it, she sides with all things masculine, but the union with it (Aeschylus, The Furies, 736-37). In myth and ancient greek culture what it meant to be a woman, was to bare children and take care of the household. Because of her virginal status, she never is present in love stories that would prove to feminize her. Antigone does not shun the prospect of marriage, as she knowingly goes to her death she laments her short “cursed,

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