Theme Of Gender Inequality In Antigone

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How can it be that a play written over thousands of years ago effectively delineates today’s problems regarding gender inequality? Sophocles tells of a very adamant and fervent woman, Antigone, who fights for her desires while simultaneously disregarding Creon, the king, and his laws. As punishment, Antigone was placed in a dungeon, but sadly was unable to handle the isolation and committed suicide. In Sophocles's Antigone, women’s efforts to change any aspect of their lives are futile because they will inevitably be subjected to inferior perceptions and treated as so.
Antigone’s efforts to execute her will on Creon and his men resulted in her being viewed as weak. Creon asks Haimon, “Is a woman stronger than we?”(Sophocles 218). His question clearly implies the sexist and patriarchal values and beliefs ingrained in him just like plenty of men at that time, which is that women are subservient to men and that’s the way it should be. Creon goes on to call Haimon an “adolescent fool!”(Sophocles 221), all because he defended Antigone’s actions. Ironically, Haimon admits to finding Creon’s wisdom more valuable than his marriage; even the nicest of men have their biased perceptions of superiority. Creon believes that
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Ismene says to Antigone that the “law is strong, we must give into law”(Sophocles 192). Ismene’s words seem to signify rationality, but in fact, it’s her way of submitting; she also informs Antigone of their reality, they as women “cannot fight with men”(Sophocles 191) and must yield to “those in authority”(Sophocles 192). Her words clearly present her acceptance of patriarchy, believing she truly is powerless to change her circumstances leading her to automatically give up the fight for equality. Ismene, like many other women today, abandons all hopes of removing the negative portrayal placed on her as a woman and lives a life of
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