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Antigone: A Study of Moral Influences in Society.

Essay by review  •  December 7, 2010  •  Essay  •  870 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,320 Views

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Throughout time, man has feared the rise of women's power, and has taken great measures to avoid it. Whether it be not allowing them to vote, suppressing their calls for jobs, or even devaluing the significance of women in many religious groups. In literature we witness the same fear, reading between the lines at how the author created a character and the reaction of the public to her. The woman, in Sophocles' Antigone, is considered powerful but noble, and is met with fierce opposition from men in power, and even fellow women who feel she has fallen from her rightful place. It is difficult, however, to determine who is right and who is wrong, when it is all said and done.

Antigone, the seemingly victimized woman, has the power to stand up for what she believes. She is glorified, simply becoming the tragic hero of the play. It is her role that causes the issue in Creon's noble city, and her strength that overcomes the problems. When Creon issues his proclamation banning the burial of Antigone's brother, Polyneices, she rightfully stands and declares, "I will bury my brotherÐ'... (Sophocles 45)." She is right in her mind, backed by her morals and dedication to the gods. Who is to say, though, whether her morals are more acceptable than Creon's? We are led to believe that she is in the right, but strategically, Sophocles created a circle of disapproval and hatred of Antigone around her, representing the common feelings of women going against the grain at that time.

Sophocles' portrayal of normal behavior of women in this period is backed by his characterization methods. Antigone's own sister, Ismene, is taken aback that Antigone would dare go against the King's decree. Demeaning herself even further, she says in conversation, "I am too weak [to act against the city's will]" (Sophocles 79). It is this opening dialogue that limits the direction our main character can go to achieve her goal. Antigone's younger sister Ismene believes that women should always follow whatever men want to do because women are powerless to stop them, but also suggests that perhaps Antigone is wrong in her actions- men rule and women are ruled. Creon's decision, followed by all citizens and their families Ð'- including all the women Ð'- and Ismene's response to Antigone's threat provide a tense atmosphere and establish the author's feelings towards his character's motives.

Equally important is Creon's character, which creates a wonderful disguise. Though he seems to say intelligent things, Sophocles throws in arrogant clues that he is in the wrong, not Antigone. Torn between her duty to gods and her duty to Creon, Ismene, runs to the King to tell him of Antigone's actions, crying "O, not for me the dusty hair of youth, but let us now unto the palace go" ( Sophocles 456). But Creon simply ignores the information she has to tell; sure that no one would go against his laws. He is convinced that without a powerful leader as him, the city would surely be in chaos after the war, and refuses to let such a traitor have

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