Antigone And Lysistrata Essay Research Paper The

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Antigone And Lysistrata Essay, Research Paper The Portrayal of the Main Characters in Antigone and Lysistrata Illustrate the Athenian Ideal of the Proper Woman Throughout history, across the world, women have not had the same political or civil rights as men; as a result of this inequality, women have had little representation in the literary world. Ancient Greece, specifically ancient Athens, exists as one of the few literary exceptions to the centuries long, worldwide disregard of women. Realistically, women in ancient Athens led limited lives bound by the often-cruel dictates of a male dominated society. These ancient Athenian women were not citizens, they had no political power, and they were property of their husbands. The only powers ancient Athenian women had came in

the form of determining inheritance through burial rites, and their ability to influence men through their physical sensuality. The exploration of women s loss of their power over burial rights and their use of their physical attractiveness to influence men in Sophocles Antigone and Aristophanes Lysistrata illustrates to the reader the same idea concerning the essence of the ideal woman in Athenian society. The different portrayals of female characters in Antigone and Lysistrata illustrate the fundamental nature of the proper Athenian woman. Sophocles allows the reader to see that outrage over social injustices does not give women the excuse to rebel against authority. Aristophanes reveals that challenging authority in the state becomes acceptable when the city-state faces

destruction through war. Sophocles and Aristophanes use different means to illustrate the same idea; the ideal Athenian woman s ultimate loyalty lies with her state. This Grecian 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 Antigone and Lysistrata through their relationships with their families, other women, and society reveals the Athenian idea of the proper woman. In Sophocles Antigone, the problems with the main character s role in relation to her family illustrates that the ideal Athenian woman has final loyalty only to her city-state. Antigone, the main character of Sophocles tragedy, plays the role of protector in her relationship with her family.

In attempting to fulfill her role she rebels against her country, breaking the command of her king while attempting to defend the honor of her dead brother. Antigone s brother, Polynices, dies while attempting a hostile takeover of his city-state. As punishment for his crimes, the king condemns Polynices, declaring None may bewail him, none bury all must leave / Unwept destroying Polynices chances of peace in the afterworld Ed. Sophocles, Antigone ( New York: Dover, 1993), 2. Antigone playing protector rashly declares, I shall not prove disloyal Him I will bury (Antigone, 2-3). She comes to the contradictory conclusion that she will stay loyal to her traitorous brother through blatant disloyalty to her city-state. This role of protector incarnate leads Antigone to ignore the

possible consequence of her actions. She consciously disregards the king s proclamation that anyone who buries Polynices shall surely die; The citizens shall stone [that person] in the streets (Antigone, 2). She blithely states, Far longer is there need I satisfy / Those nether Powers, then powers on earth mistakenly believing the gods will intervene when she faces the consequences of her choices (Antigone, 3). Antigone continues denying the possible outcomes of her betrayal; while attempting to justify her impending treachery and the horrible death she will face as a result of her actions. She deludes herself into believing I shall meet with nothing / More grievous, at the worst, than death, with honor (Antigone, 4). Through her role of protector in her relationship with her