Sisterly Love

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Kerri Wike
English 113
Prof. Singh
Sisterly Love
In Bernhard Frank’s literary criticism, “Sophocles’ Antigone”, he presents the reader with elements of questionable motive and incest, not readily seen by most. Frank essentially believes that Antigone’s obvious death wish comes from being the “ill-fated bride” (line 801) not of Haemon, but rather, of her deceased brother, Polyneices. Frank says that, “it is as the bride of her slain brother that Antigone may see herself” (Frank, pg1). Frank uses Antigone’s indifference to Haemon and excessive love of her brother as support for his argument.

Frank suggests that it would be reasonable to expect Antigone to want to live to become the bride of Haemon. He says it would also be reasonable to expect Antigone to wish for death if she were the intended bride for Polyneices. Frank goes even further with his incest theory in implying that Antigone has incestuous feelings for her sister, Ismene. He mentions that the chorus in the play compares Antigone to her father, “the violent daughter of a violent father” (line 430) and that Creon says, “if she triumphs / and goes unpunished, I am no man- she is” (lines 439-440). Franks believes that Oedipus had inappropriate affections for his daughters and that Antigone, like her father allegedly did, has an excessive love for Ismene. Frank points out, that in the end when Ismene offers her support, Antigone turns her down and taunts her as one may do a jilted lover. Frank feels that since Ismene has betrayed her, Antigone is all the more ready to join her brother in death.

This is a fairly well written article. Frank uses a few specific examples and quotes that make his argument understandable, possibly even believable. However, his is use of terms such as “may” and “could”, make the reader question his ownership of this theory. It appears that he is asking the reader to just consider his line of thinking, rather than really persuading the reader to...
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