Women were not recognized as citizens in Ancient Greece. During the “Golden Age”, women had no rights to entitlement as a results, women were only viewed to only applaud men without questioning, these perspectives resulted in the absolute faith and admiration in what a male was considered to be a god-like- figure. In the ancient Greek play, “Antigone” written by Sophocles, Antigone, Daughter of Oedipus, was able to oppose what men have a set notation of what and how the “ideal” woman should conduct and present oneself in the community. This opposition resulted in the in the questioning of why Antigone was unable to be an “ideal” woman during this era.
Women in Ancient Greece had very few rights. Women were underneath the manipulation and law reassurance of their monogynist companion, father, or any other male that came into the presence of a female. Which was considered as the “ideal” woman should have been “seen and not heard”. In the case of Antigone, she was able to show that she more than a muzzled female who lacked personalized individuality by standing up for what she believed was morally correct to her and the prophets. Antigone states, “He has no right to keep me from my own (59)”. Referring to Creon, the King of Thebes, who enforced man-made- laws to bury one of Antigone’s brother with an honorable discharge but emphasized that the expired physique of Polynices should be left for “birds that scan the field and feast to their hearts content (36)”. When reading the
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Gender and its roles are exposed in the story of Antigone as the central themes. Roles and rules are set and followed by several people in this era, this is appreciated in this text. Ideas of contradiction to these rules were not explored. In Greek mythology, several women held positions of power, but none of these women were human, making the idea of a powerful woman godlike and unattainable, as if to keep woman in their place, which of course, was always under the rule of the superior gender, the male. To challenge a patriarchy with feminism was dangerous, for both sexes were equally protective of it, leaving the challenger desolate in the battle against it. To rely on women to help other women rebel against this social norm was not probable, in the contrary, women held each other accountable for complying to these rules and punished those who didn’t. Women were their gender’s prevalent critics and suppressors, not only because they feared the repercussions, but since they didn’t have the means to rebel against it.
Creon voices his opinions on Antigone and her actions with great detail and passion, yet he bases a majority of those opinions on her gender. He makes it a point that men are the rulers of the spineless, controlled women. Antigone also voices her own thoughts on the situation saying to Creon, “And if my present actions strike you as foolish, let 's just say I 've been accused of folly by a fool” (Sophocles 665). For a women to speak of a man, in particular the ruler of Thebes in this manner was unheard of. Antigone is
In the Greek play Antigone writer Sophocles illustrates the clash between the story’s main character Antigone and her powerful uncle, Creon. King Creon of Thebes is an ignorant and oppressive ruler. In the text, there is a prevailing theme of rules and order in which Antigone’s standards of divine justice conflict with Creon’s will as the king. Antigone was not wrong in disobeying Creon, because he was evil and tyrannical. The authors of “Antigone: Kinship, Justice, and the Polis,” and “Assumptions and the Creation of Meaning: Reading Sophocles’ Antigone.” agree with the notion that Antigone performs the role of woman and warrior at once. She does not only what a kinswoman would, but also what a warrior would do.
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.
Evidently, women of ancient Greece were subjected to what modern day women may consider harsh and unfair treatment as a result of some irrational beliefs and practices that were given judicial recognition. Because of fear of facing the consequences that may arise from contesting these laws, many women living during that period made no attempt to do so. So they remained as they were considered to be – weak and helpless – because of fear. Sophocles’ mythical anecdote of Antigone, however, shows the apparently unseen characteristics of women, though not all women, in ancient Greece. They were not as weak, helpless and unwise as they were believed to have been but were strong willed individuals, possessing strong characters and competent of making sound decisions.
Traditional gender roles have stamped a hard to remove label on how a woman is supposed to act within society, and this makes it difficult for them to be looked at differently for the good things they do versus the “good” things they do. In Antigone, Antigone “steps out of line” with the Theban laws. Antigone declares to Ismene that she thinks Creon’s law has much injustice, and she’s going to bury the body of Polyneices because she thinks that her brother should have a fine afterlife (Sophocles 118). This quote is saying that Antigone doesn’t really care too much about Creon’s civil law because she believes that moral laws have a higher level of importance than civil laws. Also, she believes that it’s what the gods would want her to do instead of having his body unburied in the desert. This quote is implying that Antigone is willing to have a bad girl image put on her, even though she will be looked at it in a negative way by her uncle for burying the body of Polynices. This quote relates to the bigger picture because it is a powerful moment for women because it breaks away from social norms because Antigone is going to do something that most people would be shocked by, especially because it’s a WOMAN who is doing something that a man would normally do. While some women choose to do what society believes is right, versus what is morally right. Ismene gently states to Antigone that they are only women, and that they are unfit to deal with the things that men deal with, and that they have to listen to the law because it is greater than Antigone and herself (Sophocles 119). This quote implies that Ismene believes Antigone should not mess with the Creon's law which states that Polyneices' body will not be buried because he is a traitor. The quote suggests that Ismene believes that Antigone should maintain a good girl image by acting like a typical female, so she won't get in trouble by Creon and be outcasted by society. Sometimes being the
His beliefs dictate that a woman could commit such a deed; women are to seen and not heard; they do not stir things up, or put up fights. When it is revealed to be Antigone, a young woman, who had broken the decree, Creon is flabbergasted. One of his defining philosophies is proven invalid. It surprises him. While his reaction to the surprise is negative, it was a step forward in the prehistoric fight for women. Every once in awhile, make a bold statement; surprise somebody. So long as it is stirred by a passion, it will not go unnoticed. Antigone not only defies authority for her passion; she defied it as a woman and a member of lesser society. This showed me that the world-changers are the ones who are not afraid to face opposition publicly. Not only this, but those who are successful at it are passionate about their
One perspective of oppression in Antigone is demonstrated through the conflict between Creon and Antigone regarding the burial of Polyneices, Antigone’s brother. Creon is the king of Thebes, and constantly has to assert his power, even if it means suppressing others’ opinions. When Antigone disagrees with his decree of allowing the burial of only one of her brothers, she defiantly performs a burial ritual for the other. Creon is outraged and issues the punishment of death upon Antigone, and condemns her sister Ismene for the same crime “for they are but women, and even brave men run when they see death coming” (Sophocles 460-465). It is clear that the main issue is not about Antigone breaking the law; but that she is an inferior woman who is expressing her opinions against someone of a higher standing. Creon oppresses Antigone for her gender and refuses to acknowledge her perspective because he would rather “lose to a man, at least”
His son commits suicide over Antigone’s death, and Creon’s wife soon follows suit after learning about her son’s death. In the end, Creon wallows in his own self misery, and realizes that his mistakes are too late to fix. Antigone reflects a social construct issue present throughout Greece – women are not nearly as feeble and incompetent as the Greek society believes them to be. Creon adamantly states that he is above all females, “… No woman rules me while I live.” (What Law to Obey: Human or Divine?), making him rigid in his opinion about females being inferior to males, and “I am no man and she the man instead…”
The different portrayals of female characters Antigone and Lysistrata illustrate the fundamental nature of the proper Athenian woman. Sophocles' Antigone allows the reader to see that outrage over social injustices does not give women the excuse to rebel against authority, while Aristophanes' Lysistrata reveals that challenging authority in the polis becomes acceptable only when it's faced with destruction through war. Sophocles and Aristophanes use different means to illustrate the same idea; the ideal Athenian woman's ultimate loyalty lies with her polis. This Greek concept of the proper woman seems so vital when considering Athenian society because both a tragedy and comedy revolve around this concept. The differing roles accorded to
Although ancient Greece was a male-dominant society, Sophocles’ Antigone portrays women as being strong and capable of making wise decisions. Antigone, the tragic heroine, rejects the traditional role of women. As such, Sophocles punishes Ismene for embodying traditional attitude. Moreover, Creon is punished for misogyny. Sophocles, accordingly, uses characterization to promote feminist ideas.
For centuries men have been finding ways to gain control over everything and everyone. One group that has been oppressed by men throughout history are women. Men have placed rules and regulations upon women making them seen as unequal and inferior. Was it fear? Was it the hunger for power? Was is the highness of superiority? Whatever the reasons were, men had to be seen as the highest being next to whom they worshiped. In the play Antigone by Sophocles, the audience is exposed to the roles of men and women in an ancient Greece society known as Thebes. Although ancient Greece was a male-dominant society where women had as much freedom as a slave, Sophocles’ main character in the play, Antigone, is an example of a brave, strong-minded woman who goes against the limitations that were unfairly set upon women during that time to do what she believes is right. In this play, gender roles assists in the process of portraying the story since it affects some of the decisions of the characters and helps lead the story into the climax.
“No woman shall seduce us. If we must lose, Let's lose to a man, at least. Is a woman stronger than we?” (Sophocles.II.3.539-540) says Creon, King of Thebes and uncle to the disobeying but brave Antigone in Antigone by Sophocles. A patriarchal society is a community in which male domination over women, Sophocles explains the journey of Antigone in getting her brother buried and yielding against the laws of Thebes in a man dominated city. Antigone portrayed in the play is loyal and stubborn, she would do anything that feels ethical and honest to her even if that disregarding the laws created by men. She responds to the standards of King Creon by going against her own blood, not believing that women should subjected to the rule that they
Readers of the three Greek plays, Oedipus the King, Antigone, and Medea, can easily gather an abundance of information about the different cultural details within the Greek society at that time. One of the major cultural values that can be picked up from these three plays, is the roles of women in this society. The roles of women can be observed through a comparison between them and their male counterparts.
In “Antigone” by Sophocles, a famous ancient Greek tragedian, the main character, Antigone, demonstrates a prohibited action in a strict, male-dominated society. Greek civilization upheld strong values and rules that were designed to enforce orderly behavior among its people. There were state laws created by the King, Creon, and divine laws created by the Gods. Divine law was superior to the king laws, and if that rule was disrupted, eternal consequences could ruin an individual. In this society, men were mighty, powerful, and in control of the kingdom. Women were traditionally treated as an underclass with no voice or power. Women were restricted from performing any masculine jobs, holding high civilization positions, and disobeying men. Although Greek civilization had strict standards for women, Antigone challenges the law through her actions in order to satisfy the Gods because it is what she thought was the right decision.