Feminism in Antigone
Although ancient Greece was a male-dominant society, Sophocles’ Antigone portrays women as being strong and capable of making wise decisions. Antigone, the tragic heroine, rejects the traditional role of women. As such, Sophocles punishes Ismene for embodying traditional attitude. Moreover, Creon is punished for misogyny. Sophocles, accordingly, uses characterization to promote feminist ideas. Sophocles introduces a female character in Antigone who is a strong believer and who demonstrates feminist logic. This is Antigone, as she rejects the traditional role of women. Antigone disobeys her king Creon, in various ways causing her to be portrayed as a feminist. For instance, Antigone struggles trying to secure a respectable burial for her brother Polyneices. Knowing that the penalty for disobedience is to be stoned to death, Antigone states that “What Creon says is quite irrelevant [as] / [Polyneices] is [her] brother [and she] will bury him” (32). Antigone also sticks to her beliefs throughout the entire play and refuses to be labelled as a woman. Even though Ismene tries to convince her to do otherwise, Antigone remains cheerful because she is “helping those [she] know(s) / [she] should help” (34). Moreover, once Antigone is caught for her actions, she refuses to give in and says that “[She] will suffer/Nothing worse than death in a good cause” (34). Antigone doesn’t mind the consequences as she sticks to what she thinks is right, and refuses to give in just because she is a woman. Sophocles also introduces a second female character who doesn’t have the same strength and courage as Antigone. Sophocles not only portrays feminism through the tragic heroine Antigone, but also punishes a second female character for obeying the laws set by her king. This is Ismene, and she is punished for embodying a traditional attitude. Unlike Antigone, Ismene believes that everyone should “comply with their superior’s orders” (33) especially if a male is...
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