Antigone and Ismene are were given the same opportunity for redemption. If this play is looked at from a contextual point a view, we could say that the respect for the Gods and afterlife was the number one priority. During the first scene of the play Antigone, we see the character differences of Antigone and Ismene as they take different stances on what to do about polyneceis.
Antigone and Ismene have different motivations for their actions in life, which come from their value of human life or the afterlife. Citatiation
: Antigone: There it is, and now you can prove what you are: a true sister, or a traitor to your family.
Ismene: Bury him! You have just said the new law forbids it.
Antigone: I say that this crime is holy. . . . It is the dead, not the living, who make the longest demands: we die forever . . .you may do as you like, since apparently the laws of gods mean nothing to you.
Ismene: but I have no strength to break laws that were made for the public good.
Antigone is viewed as brash and not as meticulous as Ismene
Ismene: You must tell no one, I will keep it a secret, I promise!
Antigone " Oh tell it! Tell everyone! Think how they'll hate you when it all comes out if they learn that you knew about it all the time!
(Ismene wants to keep this behind closed doors, but Antigone is not going to work that way, they could have planned a further term goal to bury them. If they had let the king not bury them, he would have been in just as much trouble with the gods)
Citation: Ismene: Impossible things should not be tried.
Explanation: Ismene has reasoned that burying her brother so quickly is impossible with the Creon so recently making the decree.
In the second act, Ismene displays marked fear for the wrath of her uncle, directly contrasting with Antigone's courageous intent to defy his orders and bury her brother. Citation
Ismene: But think of the danger! Think what Creon will do!
Antigone: Creon is not strong enough to stand in my way. 875 Explanation: Antigone is boasting her fearlessness of Creon while Ismene is openly admitting fear of him.
Ismene: I am so afraid for you!
The story of Antigone is more than a tragic tale of the aftermath of Oedipus' grisly demise. Antigone, a woman of strong will and spirit, and her sister, Ismene, a quieter woman of rational propriety and practical judgment, are shown as two unlikely protagonists with differing approaches to their brother's death, one of the main conflicts in the play. While both maintain the best of intentions, their differing opinions creates much of the tension seen in the play, between themselves and their uncle, King Creon, who begins the conflict by refusing to bury their dead brother properly, denying him entrance into the afterlife. The reactions the sisters display when presented with the possible consequences of their actions, or also in this case, inactions, prompt the personality differences in their individual personas to become clear. Ismene and Antigone's opposing reactions to King Creon's decree reveal their opposing character traits.
One of the first opposing traits that these sisters share concerns their differing emotional approach to the death of their brother, defined by one sister's brash actions and the other sister's reasonable restraint. "Have they told you the new decree of the king?" Antigone asked Ismene at the beginning of the play (875). Antigone is first introduced as emotionally distraught when she tells her sister about the decree of the king. Antigone sees this as her chance to properly bury her brother and willingly disregards her own life to insure that he is sent to the Afterlife. There could have been future opportunities for Antigone to do it, but she had to be impulsive against the King's decree instead of reasoning with him first. Antigone ends her conversation with Ismene, admitting to her plans being "foolish" and that she is "not afraid of...
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