Antigone is an Ancient Greek tragedy written by Sophocles. It was first performed around 441 B. C. , and it depicts the struggle between Antigone, a heroine of the play, and Creon, her uncle who happens to be King of Thebes at that time. Their struggles are based on their interpretation of religious and moral laws and how these rules can be used to govern a city. Antigone is the protagonist of the play, and she is faced with problems that stem from her own choices.
Antigone is a famously known play written by Sophocles, and Antigone has been studied countless times for feminism. In this essay the focus will be on the feminism in Antigone , and how feminism is displayed in certain scenes. The majority of feminism research focuses on two main characters: Antigone and Ismene; exploring their relationship with each other and their brother, Polyneices (who died earlier in the play).
Thesis: In this essay I will explore feminism through different aspects of Antigone. First looking at who feminism affects (Antigone, Haimon and Kreon), then looking at specific scenes where feminism can be seen (the dialogue between Antigone and Ismene when Antigone is caught, the conversation between Antigone and Haimon when she’s mourning Polyneices’ death, and Kreon’s decision to not bury Polyneices). Then I will explore feminism in these scenes.
First I would like to discuss who feminism affects throughout Antigone . All of the main characters are affected by feminism in some way or another. For example, Antigone herself can be seen as a major source for feminism through her dialogue. During both the conversation with Ismene before she goes out to seek burial for Polyneices (before being caught) and her conversation with Haimon after his father has left them alone, she talks about women having authority too. She tells Ismene that “woman is equal in worth, excellence/excellence is the same whether man or woman… No mortal ever saw that God gave birth” (Sophocles. Antigone 937-942).
And she tells Haimon “she’s free with equal rights, to live her life or die according to her choice.” (Sophocles. Antigone 1068-1073). She believed women should have an equal place in society as men did, and wanted a world where roles didn’t matter because both could do the same things regardless of who was male and who was female.
Antigone herself isn’t the only character feminism affects though. The feminism displayed through Antigone also reflects onto the other main characters: Haimon, Kreon, and Ismene.
She was born into a family of sisters, and all of them were raised to value their loyalty towards each other more than anything else in this world. Antigone was so loyal towards her sister, Ismene, that she even killed herself once she had heard the news of Ismene’s wedding. At the same time, Antigone is also an independent woman who knows what she wants. Her insistence to bury not only Polynices but all of the Theban victims that fought against each other lead to her death sentence.
King Creon on the other hand is not a tragic figure like Antigone is. He has sought after power for most of his life and did not hesitate to use any means necessary to get it. Throughout the play, Creon makes decisions based on what seems right at that moment with no thought for morality or consequences; he overlooks any repercussions of his choices because he thinks that they will not affect him. He is blind to the fact that once his evil deeds are done, he will be held accountable for them later on in life even if nobody knows about them at first.
At no point in this play does feminism come into question, yet it can be seen that Antigone and Creon both represent feminism in different ways. While Antigone was willing to die just so her brother could have a proper burial, Creon was willing to let all of Thebes suffer just so his pride could remain intact. Both characters feel entitled to whatever it is they want despite what may happen as a result; however, neither character seems ready or willing to take responsibility for their actions.
Creon only cares about the well-being of his city when it is affected by Antigone’s choices, while Antigone only cares about her family when she gets caught up in Creon’s decisions. When feminism is considered within this play, there are different ways to define feminism. The feminism that Antigone represents is similar to what feminism was at the time period of Ancient Greece; women were not considered equal yet they were still valued.
Unfortunately for Antigone though, she is a woman who happens to be born into a royal family instead of being someone who worked towards becoming a citizen. On the other hand, feminism as defined by Creon would entail a sense of equality between sexes and classes even if one side is not considered to be worth as much. This feminism can be seen when Creon let the commoners in the city speak up against him without fear of retribution because he knew that they would understand what needed to be done eventually.
A feminist play is one that showcases feminism through characters, development, and conflict; Antigone by Sophocles seems to meet this criterion well. Even though feminism is not touched upon in this particular work, it can still be seen throughout the story when both Antigone and Creon are considered. It shows how each protagonist embodies or rejects different aspects of feminism through their actions, thoughts, and feelings towards others in what appears to be a struggle for power.
Antigone is a feminist play. This article will give its main arguments for this claim rather than present an exposition of the plot or give an analysis of the characters’ actions and motivations. This may be done in another work later. Here are some reasons why Antigone is a feminist play: The first reason that Antigone is a feminist play is through the character of Ismene, who defies her role as subservient female to her brother and walks away from the burial scene without saying goodbye to him after learning he has killed himself and left her nothing to bury with him (Sophocles 497-508).
The second reason Antigone is a feminist play is through the actions of Antigone herself in defending the laws of the gods over her uncle’s wishes by burying her brother Polyneices. She dies because both she and Creon believe that divine law has to be followed (Sophocles 961 – 980). The third reason Antigone is a feminist play is because it affirms feminism by depicting women as fully human characters whose decisions, even when wrong, are understandable choices rather than evil or foolish ones.
The Ismene character also provides strong evidence for feminism in this play since she refuses to allow herself to be part of what could be seen as female collusion against male interests. She turns away from them without saying goodbye. This act feminism because it represents how Ismene turns away from Antigone and Creon’s plans for a life together, choosing instead her own way. The feminism in this play is also shown through the actions of Antigone herself when she defends the laws of the gods rather than her uncle’s wishes by burying her brother Polyneices.
This feminism represents how feminism is still alive today since women are treated as unequal to men in many ways. In this work, even though these women go against what men want them to do, they still end up killed because their actions were considered treasonous at that time. The feminism here shows that sometimes women have to choose between following a man or a god in order to survive in a patriarchal society.