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Antigone And The Characterization Of Women

878 words - 4 pages

Throughout history, women have always stood in the shadows of men. In many cultures, the role of a woman was to be seen and not heard. One of the first "heard" females was as I believe Antigone, of Sophocles’. Antigone, was the descendant of Oedipus. When her brothers Eteocles and Polynices killed one another, Creon, king of Thebes, forbade the rebel Polynices’ burial. However, Antigone disobeyed him, performed the burial, and was condemned to death for what she had done. Thru her actions she displayed vast uniqueness of a great female leader. In doing this, she stepped out of her place as a woman in a male dominated culture.

She believed that the law of the Gods to give a proper burial to every dead body was more important, than the law of the King Creon. Antigone reveals her audacious character by clashing with the overpower-full male dominating character of Creon. Antigone's decision is wise because it shows her unselfishness through her action. Although her deed is wrong in the eyes of the law, it is true in her heart. When she says, "But I will bury him; and if I must die…I shall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as him to me.", she shows that she is prepared to sacrifice herself for her brother.

Antigone is the first person to ever disobey Creon's order not to lay her brother to rest, even though he had been declared a traitor of the city. It is during this time in her existence that Sophocles shows Antigone’s most important trait, her strong determination. Antigone forces her political and religious views on the male ruler when she places the laws of the gods above the laws of the state by burying her brother, Polynices. In ancient Greece, it was believed that if a body was not buried, the spirit would roam the earth and never reach heaven. By not burying Polynices’ body, King Creon took the supremacy of the gods away by deciding that Polynices did not deserve to go to heaven. Antigone gave these powers back to the gods.

Not only is Antigone courageous and highly motivated by her morals by standing up for her political and religious beliefs, she also protects her personal ones when she buries her brother. Antigone places family above her own life, and she refuses to let a man stand in her way of maintaining her ideals. She buries Polynices out of her own loyalty to her brother even after her sister, Ismene, refuses. Antigone is cruel...

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