What is worth mentioning in Sophocles’ play is that he not only showed the weak side of women but also the strong ones. For example, Ismene is the traditional role of women in ancient Greek—coward, fear of men power and feeble. For Ismene, "we must remember we were born women, not meant to strive with men" (Antigone). She even chose to die with Antigone while hearing her sentence, for she was afraid that she would be alone, she could not be able to fight against Creon, this men-dominant society. In contrast, her sister Antigone presents the “women power”.
The objective for the feminist movement is to find equality between the sexes. Since the start of this movement, women have acquired the right to vote and have become big competition for males throughout the workplaces. Even though the feminist movement has been big throughout the past 200 years, there are lots of examples in history that show characteristics of feminism. One of those examples is that show characteristics of feminism. One of those examples is the book Antigone by Sophocles.
Antigone and The Importance of Gender in Ancient Greek Culture In Ancient Greece, there was a social hierarchy onto which everyone fell in one category or another. There were the free and the enslaved, the Greeks and the foreigners, the rich and the poor. Gender was an important aspect in this hierarchical society in which Sophocles’ Antigone (Sophocles) takes place. The men had their roles as the leaders of society, participating in politics, law, and the military.
Sophocles’ Antigone, is a classic Athenian Greek play that discusses questions about the importance of following the law when one does not agree with it, and whether divine laws or man-made laws have more importance in society. While these themes are worth exploring, another interesting aspect of the play is the cruel treatment and punishment of the title character, Antigone, by her uncle and future father-in-law Creon, the king of Thebes. Creon’s harsh punishment, a parallel to the treatment of women in Greek society, can be seen in many of the dialogues of the play. Antigone is determined to provide proper burial for dead brother, Polynices, against the orders of the king, and goes to her sister Ismene for help. However, Ismene is distraught at the idea of defying the king (104).
Sophocles play “Antigone” introduces a lot of debatable topics such as Human law vs Divine laws, pride, but most importantly the topic of woman’s movement for empowerment. Long before 442 B.C.E, women were belittled because of their gender however, after the birth of “Antigone” it demonstrated a strong outreach towards women and their roles in society ”Antigone, a woman who defines King Creon’s edict without any fear, doubts, or regrets. This courageous woman, the fruit of incest, has fascinated philosophers in the nineteenth century, inspired playwrights in the twentieth century, and intrigued feminist thinkers and activists for decades” (Söderbäck). Birth from a respected bloodline, Antigone doesn’t feel respected at all within her town, especially from her uncle Creon who became entitled as the King after Antigone’s blood
In Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone, a woman’s individual conscience trumps state law when Antigone displays time and again that she values her divine motives higher than those of the state throughout the tragedy. Her continued defiance of the state’s authority marks the importance of her individuality through various scenes in Antigone. Knowing full well her role as a woman in a patriarchal society, Antigone goes beyond the powers of the common man to carry on morals of herself and family exceeding beyond immortality and death. Engulfed in the menacing misogyny King Creon set forth in the state, Antigone is determined to thrive and keep the sacred deeds of herself and family in tact despite the fate it bears. The character of Antigone exhibits
The play Antigone written by Sophocles is a Greek tragedy which incorporates themes of divine law vs. man made law ,conventional role of a woman vs. a defiant role portrayed by a woman, but the very essence of the play and other major themes are created with the defiance of the conventional role of women shown by Antigone. This is the primary aim of the essay. A little insight into the Greek society gives us a brief idea about the status of women and help do a comparative study with the unique character of Antigone and her role in the development of the plot.
We are only women, We cannot fight with men Antigone!” (Prologue Lines 45-47). While Ismene would gladly obey the laws set forth by her Uncle, Antigone would rather die than let her brother’s body be desecrated. She refused to give up no matter the obstacle in her way. At the end of her crusade, Antigone is condemned to be buried alive in a tomb by Creon.
Gender roles play a significant part through ought the play Antigone due to the fact that men are treated on a higher scale than women. Sophocles portrays women as people with no rights nor freedom. Antigone is on a destiny for burial rights of her brother Polyneicis. Gender roles are expressed throughout the play Antigone by disrespecting women and men having power and freedom.
Greek tragedies are known for their predictable endings and characters, whose character traits almost always stereotypically reflect those of the archetype they have been assigned. Sophocles’ play, Antigone, is no exception to this. Despite having been written around 441 B.C., his play does present newer controversial topics such as feminism in his play, along with more common themes such as integrity and loyalty. By establishing and associating Antigone’s character with heroic archetypes as the martyr and the tragic heroine, Sophocles could utilize her actions and characteristics as such roles to better demonstrate and convey his messages throughout his work.
Asking for her sister 's help, she hopes to obtain reliability, only to find her too intimidated by Creon, Their uncle, and king. Accordingly, she says to Ismene “You may do as you like since apparently the laws of the gods mean nothing to you” (Page 192 Sophocles Antigone).This sentence uses two rhetorical appeals. First, Antigone 's most manipulated appeal, pathos is demonstrated specifically when she says “ you may do as you like..” (Page 192 Sophocles Antigone).These words make it seem like Ismene is selfish in preserving herself, unlike Antigone 's decision to do the opposite. Antigone uses comparison to herself to make Ismene appear weak and self-serving in return.
The famous feminist, Gloria Steinem, once said,”Women are not going to be equal outside the home until men are equal in it.” This central idea of equality is relevant to the story Antigone by Sophocles. Considering the circumstances of the story, the minor character, Ismene, is conflicted with standing by the beliefs that men are overall rulers and powerful over women. Ismene’s emotions and mood fluctuates through the story in a horrible manner. To tragedy unto despair is a major theme in Sophocles most famous tragedy, Antigone.
(_Antigone). Even when compared with the dishonorable deaths of her family members, Ismene believes that going against the will of a monarch is worse. Ismene is the polar opposite of Antigone, she is complacent and law abiding where Antigone defies the law in accordance with her own values. This has taught her that she and Antigone are “weak women, [...], Not framed by nature to contend with men” (_Antigone). As the case of Ismene shows, faith in law, and the following the societal expectations, creates someone who is largely complacent.
Antigone’s actions are motivated by her allegiance to her family, moral conscience, and religion amid Creon’s political injustice and tyranny. Antigone’s actions motivate her to demand Ismene to prove whether she is “a true sister or a traitor to your family” (26-27). Antigone maintains loyalty to her brother despite his actions which threatened Thebes. Her inability to bear the thought of her brother’s corpse being picked apart by animals and not being honored with proper funeral rites forces her to act. Antigone’s fierce allegiance to her family is laid bare as she is willing to sacrifice her life to honor her brother and defy the law in an act that she believes is morally just.