The Conflict Of Sophocles ' Antigone

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Sophocles’ Antigone centers around a familial feud that develops between Antigone and Creon when Antigone decides to bury her brother and Creon’s niece, Polyneices. While Antigone believes that it is her religious and familial duty to bury her brother, Creon objects, citing the Theban civil war which took place right before the events of the play. Adhering to Greek literary tradition, Sophocles ultimately seeks not just to entertain the audience but also to teach a moral lesson, in this case about the consequences that ensue when a tyrannical ruler disobeys divine rule, violate religious obligation, and attempt to place government over religion. In developing the plot and conflicts of the text, Sophocles explores three unique but…show more content…
When one considers Antigone’s actions against period social norms, it becomes apparent that Antigone serves as a foil to the established stereotype of a traditional Greek woman who is supposed to be “pure,” soft-spoken, and nearly subservient, much like Ismene is. Antigone’s contradiction to societal norms serves to emphasize the severity of Antigone’s rebellion as one not only against Creon but also against society as well. From this interaction, the audience can glean that Antigone is not only viewed as rebellious because of her actions, but also because of her sex, which inherently exacerbates the severity of her crime. Creon’s first accusations against the perpetrator of the burial support this initial claim. Creon refers to the criminal as a “he” and implies that Creon cannot fathom that a woman might commit a crime against his rule. Thus, a theme of gender roles emerges, further showing Antigone’s idealism since Antigone believes that she is able to act in rebellion of the throne regardless of established gender roles and that she has the same fervor to fight against wrongs perpetrated by the government as any male would have. Such defiance gives Antigone the characterization of a double minority in Theban society: first because she is a woman and secondly because she questions Creon’s rule. Moreover, as posited by Kirkwood, “The
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