Sophocles’ Antigone Essay

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Sophocles’ Antigone

The character of Antigone in Sophocles’ play, Antigone, is one of the most controversial tragic characters in classic literature. The war in her city has torn her family apart, caused the death of both her brothers, and created a reason for her to fight against the King, her uncle. Her uncle, Creon, makes a ruling that her brother, Polynices, is not to be buried because he is a traitor, but according to her religion, her brother’s soul will not go to the afterlife until he is buried. In defense of her brother, she buries his body illegally and is subsequently sentenced to death. With her complex patterns of thought, bold actions, and the end she encounters, the character of Antigone causes debate among critics as to
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According to the History for Kids Organization website, “Sophocles also remembers the terrors of war and barbarism, which can sometimes overcome men and women. He pleads, in his plays, for the triumph of reason over wild emotion and anger” (n/a). As an adult, he was also into politics and worked alongside such famous ancient politicians as Pericles, Aeschylus, and Herodotus.

Women of Sophocles era in ancient Greek history had very few rights. Their main purpose in life was to marry and produce sons. They were merely extensions of the men they married since women were never considered citizens of a city. A woman who was not married and not a virgin could be bought and sold as a slave. Despite the evident lack of respect for women in their society, however, ancient Greek artists still made use of women as the main characters in their works. In her essay, “From Tragedy to Hierarchy and Back Again: Women in Greek Political Thought,” Arlene W. Saxonhouse states that women in Greek tragedy are meant to help question the norms of the patriarchal society because Greek men, confronted with a women hero, are forced to see that they in fact need women to exist, annulling their right to complete dominance over society (404). Antigone is no exception to this statement. In her fight to rescue her brother from a restless soul, Antigone also helps bring out the issues of male chauvinism and sexism in

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