Women often are put in positions that often create turmoil within themselves. Women tend to make decisions based more on emotion and values as opposed to what is dictated by governing laws and rulers. By choosing to do what is “right in their heart” women often suffer great consequences such as persecution, abuse, exile and even death.
Antigone deals with this turmoil because she tries to perform the noble act of loyalty to her brother, Polyneices, as well as her loyalty to her family. Polyneices was slain by his own brother, Eteocles, in a battle where both were killed by each other’s sword. King Creon sentenced Polyneices to be left dead and Eteocles to be given an honorable burial. Antigone is faced with the decision to let her brother, Polyneices, lay dead in the street to be scavenged by animals or to be buried in a proper and decent manner so as to be accepted by the gods. She is in a position that gives her no rights as a woman, sister, niece or future queen. Her decision to bury her brother demonstrates her loyalty to her family, the gods and to all women. Her motivation drives her decisions far more than that what the laws of state have implemented.
Antigone also demonstrates loyalty towards her sister, Ismene. At first when the two sisters quarrel over the burial of Polyneices, Antigone demonstrates hatred and resentment towards Ismene. Antigone accuses her of dishonoring her brother and dishonoring the gods. She also attacks Ismene’s morals by calling her weak and fragile. Antigone says to Ismene, “ But you, if so you choose, you may dishonour the sacred laws that heaven holds in honour.” (Antigone, Lines 76 and 77). Later when Ismene and Antigone confront Creon, Ismene is willing to die with Antigone even though she had no part of the criminal act. [I did it too, if she allows my claim; I share the burden of this heavy charge. But in your stormy voyage I am glad to share the danger, traveling at your side.] (Ismene, Lines 536 and 537, Lines 540 and 541) Antigone’s loyalty to Ismene is shown when she forbids Ismene to accept punishment for something she had no part in.
However, Antigone’s loyalty to the gods seems to be the most powerful. Possibly because her fear of disobeying the gods is far greater than any turmoil she has yet to face. Antigone fears that by disobeying the gods she will reap great consequences after death. She chooses to obey the laws set by the gods and accepts the punishment of death by Creon. [Was I to stand before the gods’ tribunal for disobeying them, because I feared a man? I knew that I should have to die, even without your edict; if I die before my time, why then, I count it gain; to one who lives as I do, ringed about with countless miseries, why, death is welcome.] (Antigone, Lines 458...