Antigone – The First Feminist Essay

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Antigone – The First Feminist How old is feminism, and who was the first feminist? Although no one can say for sure the exact date on which the feminist movement started, most of it is attributed to the past two centuries. However, women who are feminists have been around much longer. In Sophocles’s Antigone, the main character (Antigone) acts as a protofeminist by defying the authority of a patriarchal society and taking action according to what she believes is right in her heart. She even shows some characteristics of a modern feminist. Feminists today are viewed as raging, man-hating bitches, but feminism in its true sense simply advocates women’s rights. While there are extremes on either side of the scale, most feminists fight…show more content…
Ismene (Antigone’s sister) points out to Antigone, “Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men,” (Sophocles p.646). This strict patriarchy is symbolized by King Creon, who makes a decree that is opposition with the gods and forbids the proper burial of Polynices (Antigone’s brother). Antigone, however, decides she would rather please the gods than man and buries her brother against King Creon’s orders. She is fully aware of the consequences should she get caught, yet she openly disobeys, even against her sister’s warnings. She gives Creon no additional respect either as a male in a patriarchal society or as a king and ultimate authority figure. In fact, she calls him a fool! Antigone boldly states to Creon himself, “If my present actions strike you as foolish, let’s just say I’ve been accused of folly by a fool,” (Sophocles p.657). The strong will and defiance she exhibits are very characteristic of modern feminism. An essential characteristic of feminists, especially if they are to change the status quo, is the need for widespread popular support. Antigone shows a feminist mentality in her search for popularity among others. She first asks that her crime be made public because she knows that if the public is unaware of it, she cannot gather their sympathies or support. Additionally, she tries to win approval from Creon. Antigone claims, “These citizens here would all agree, they’d praise
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