Annear, Period: 2
September 29, 2014
Antigone Facing Standards Against Her Values
In society standards are created to be followed and respected. In Thebes during Sophocles’ time, standards were modified to unify a kingdom and create a uniform society. When standards are set against one’s moral values and beliefs, they become difficult to meet and affect people in negative ways. In Sophocles’ version of the Greek tragedy Antigone, Antigone faces gender and class standards that challenge her religion and through this conflict she displays her inner strength.
In Sophocles’ society, women are not valued as equally as men and are believed to be weak. As a woman of her time, Antigone is expected to be obedient and passive, but she completely overlooks this standard because she sees herself in the same light of that of a man. King Creon, Antigone’s uncle, sets an edict prohibiting the proper burial of her brother Polyneices. He died at war with his own brother Eteocles trying to obtain his rightful power over Thebes. Antigone is disgusted by this edict for not only does it offend her family, but the gods as well. When Antigone shares her plot of justice with her sister Ismene, who is known for being amenable, she responds by saying, “…we are only women, we cannot fight with men,”(4) Antigone proves her wrong and gets on her knees to scrape dirt off the earth and onto her brothers’ corpse and show herself and others that she capable of taking control and fighting for her beliefs. When caught in the act of rebellion, Antigone denies nothing and says, “Your edict was strong but all your strength is weakness itself against the immortal unrecorded laws of God”(14) Antigone demonstrates that she is not intimidated by Creon because he is inferior to the gods and even belittles his status of king. Antigone understands the concept of gender roles and the expectations that come with them, but doesn’t necessarily agree with them, and her brothers’ death...
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