Antigone Essay Research Paper When Ismene says

  • Просмотров 213
  • Скачиваний 9
  • Размер файла 17
    Кб

Antigone Essay, Research Paper When Ismene says to Antigone, in Sophocles Antigone, Remember we are women. We re not born to contend with men , she is reflecting the mainstream view of women in early Greece, one that was shared by many and opposed by few. Women were treated as possessions, and thought to be greatly inferior than their male counterparts. Within such early Greek works as Pericles Funeral Oration, Oedipus the King, Antigone, and The Last Days of Socrates: the Apology, this popular opinion is displayed. Among those who would agree with Ismene s statement are Creon in Antigone, Pericles in his Funeral Oration, and Socrates in The Last Days of Socrates: the Apology. Those who would oppose it include both Antigone s father, Oedipus, and her fianc , Haemon, and also

Sappho, in her poetry. The majority of Greeks in those days, though, would agree with Ismene s statement about women. While Creon would strongly agree with Ismene s statement, Antigone obviously differed in opinion, and did not let the comment stop her from completing her act of devotion to her family. Antigone s response to her sister was, I won t insist, no, even if you should have a change of heart, I d never welcome you in the labor, not with me. So do as you like, whatever suits you best-I will bury him myself. And even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory. I will lie with the one I love and loved by him-an outrage sacred to the gods! I have longer to please the dead then please the living here: in the kingdom down below I ll lie forever. Do as you like, dishonor

the laws the gods hold in honor. (Marra, Zelnick, and Mattson, 64-65) Even though she did not directly respond to Ismene s statement about women, Antigone did make it clear that she would not let it hinder her attempt to bury her brother. She would much rather disobey the man-made laws then those of the gods. In her opinion, honoring the family was more important than keeping her helpless and obedient image in society. Throughout Antigone, Creon makes his view of women as the inferior sex exceedingly clear. Such comments as, …no woman is going to lord it over me (Ibid, 73), and, …a worthless woman in your house, a misery in your bed (Ibid., 76) prove this. When he first found out that someone had dared to bury the body of Polynices, he did not even consider the fact that a

woman could have done it. His reply to the news is, What man would dare- (Ibid, 68). After he finds out that Antigone was the so-called traitor , and wrongly accuses her sister to be the same, he says, Stop wasting time. Take them in. From now on they ll act like women. (Ibid, 75). Obviously his opinion of how women should act is in a subservient, humble manner. When he speaks to his son, Haemon, about his engagement to the Antigone, Creon says, …never let some woman triumph over us. Better to fall from power, if fall we must, at the hands of a man- never be rated inferior to a woman-never. (Ibid, 77). Haemon is defensive about this and is met with such angry comments as, This boy, I do believe, is fighting on her side, the woman s side. (Ibid, 78), and, Don t flatter me with

father-you woman s slave! These statements that Creon makes in Antigone prove that he would fully agree with Ismene s comment. Pericles and Socrates were just a mere representation of those in early Greece who would agree with Ismene and Creon. In Pericles Funeral Oration, he does not say much about women. Most of the speech is dedicated to men, particularly Athenian soldiers. In fact when he does mention women, he says, …if I must say anything on the subject of female excellence to those now in widowhood, it will be all comprised in this brief exhortation: Great will be your glory in not falling short of your natural character; and greatest will be hers who is least talked of among the men whether for good or bad. (Ibid, 12-13) This shows that he obviously did not think too