Juxtaposition In Antigone

446 Words2 Pages
Sophocles introduces us to Ismene’s character from the commencement of the play and provides insight into her thinking and beliefs through the use of direct diction and juxtaposition. During the conversation between Antigone and Ismene within the prologue, Antigone, resolute and determined, proposes to her sister that they defy King Creon’s edict and perform Polynices’ burial. It is symbolic that this conversation takes place outside the palace boundaries similar in nature to the matter of discussion being “outside” the boundaries of the positive law. Through the quotation, “I’m forced, I have no choice – I must obey the ones who stand in power” [Ismene, 78] Sophocles conveys that Ismene is fearful of challenging authority and values authoritarian decrees over personal conviction. Being…show more content…
Ismene’s compulsion to adhere to Creon’s command illustrates that she truly had “no choice” and was “forced” partially by her belief that women were “not born to contend with men”. Sophocles’ illustration of the depletion of free will within Ismene’s character is heightened through the deliberate juxtaposition to Antigone during their conversation. Antigone, in her appeal to family tradition and value, believes that Creon “has no right to keep [her] from [her] own”. This presents a strong incongruity to Ismene who attempts to dissuade Antigone from her purpose as she is obliged to “obey the ones who stand in power”. Upon further consideration of Ismene’s quotation, “…I have no choice…” we recognize Sophocles’ motive to establish her character as one that is more likely to plead for mercy than fight for justice. This sparks the topic of fate vs free will and Ismene’s reference to the “poor suffering” of her brothers as “their common destiny” is indicative of her deep-seated belief in the role of
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