Behind every great person in life, there lies a person who assisted them in achieving their greatness. In the novels Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Antigone by Sophocles, this idea is portrayed perfectly. The way that Achebe developed Ezinma throughout the novel, I believe, is what was used to show readers the softer and gentler side of Okonkwo. In conjunction with that, Sophocles used Ismene to be the more tame and obedient side of Antigone. Through the descriptions and ways that these two female characters affect the main characters in each of these novels, Ezinma from Things Fall Apart and Ismene from Antigone, it is apparent that they both value their families, but Ismene would choose the law over her family while Ezinma would stay loyal. From what the authors have revealed, the love and appreciation for their families is highly important to Ezinma and Ismene. With Ismene, Sophocles displays her loyalty to her family when he writes of Ismene attempting to die alongside Antigone. During the conversation between Ismene and her sister, Ismene practically begs her sister to allow her to die: Ismene: I did it, if she will allow it. I am her partner. I share the blame. Antigone: Justice will say no. You had no desire to be my partner. Nor did I allow it. Ismene: The journey with you into pain is what I long for.
Antigone: Death and the dead know who did this. I cannot love someone whose love is mere words. Ismene: Sister, don’t deprive me of honor. Honor for me is to die with you, bringing glory to the dead. (Sophocles, 29) Sophocles also adds the scene at the beginning of the novel where Ismene is trying to warn Antigone about burying Polyneices. She reminds her that if Antigone breaks the law, they will both “die a painful death” and making a “wild and futile” choice wouldn’t make any sense (Sophocles, 13). Sophocles added this particular part to this scene to, not only, demonstrate Antigone’s stubbornness, but to also show that Ismene is so loyal to...
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