Essay on Antigone and Tragedy Archetypes and Art

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Antigone as a heroic and tragic archetype must internally struggle with individuality and morality versus established rule and law and she can be seen as externally fighting between her sister as an outward display of her internal conflict. Antigone then is a unique archetype as a heroine and her power and powerlessness are defining to her as a woman in politics. Her sister, Ismene is portrayed as much weaker and can be said to be metaphorical in that individual morality is weak as compared to established law and Ismene is the personification of morality in a legal-rational world, according to the emerging Hellenistic establishment. Antigone is willing to use her own morals to bury Polyneices, though it is illegal to do so. Ismene is…show more content…
Knowing that blood ties were so important to Antigone then, the act of disowning her sister is worthy of further review in terms of looking at Antigone as the personification of the ancients while Ismene is a personification of the new type of establishment. In the new type of relinquishment to law over personal conviction comes fear, weakness, and powerlessness as is seen in Ismene’s character.
Antigone, on the other hand, as having the virtue of the ancients is the more natural of the two sisters and Antigone’s strength can be interpreted as part of her very nature and being while Ismene is conflicted by being forced to be a part of a world that was unnatural in the fact that the very essence of being was being taken away with the establishment of laws that went against personal conviction. “When asked to make a choice between state and family, Antigone put religion and family first” (Winterer, 2001). The reader can clearly see that there is much dualism in Antigone as a work of art and that state versus family, new versus old, morality versus law are themes in the piece, but they are artistically played out in the relationships that are portrayed in the piece. Specifically since the struggle that Antigone faces as the archetypal heroine is surrounded by the love and duty to her brother, it should not be surprising that Antigone’s relationship to her sister is any less significant or important.
The fact

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