Antigone's Masochism Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

Masochist. What is a masochist? A masochist is someone who hurts themselves. A masochist not only hurts themselves, but they find pleasure in hurting themselves. A masochist is frowned upon by society. According to Dictionary.com masochism is “gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others, especially the tendency to seek this form of gratification.” Modern day masochists enjoy cutting themselves, and many die from this. Antigone knows the consequence she will receive if she breaks the law and that performing burial rites are a right reserved to men, yet she willingly breaks the law. When Antigone is caught she is given the opportunity to deny what she does, yet she fully agrees with all the claims against her, showing a masochistic thinking process. In the end Antigone is the one who kills herself, and everyone around her realizes that she was wrong with her masochistic actions. In Antigone by Sophocles the character, Antigone is a masochist because she brings upon her own downfall willingly.
Antigone is fully aware of what happens if she acts on her words, yet she knowingly brings herself closer to death. She is well informed about the decree and the she cannot preform burial rites, yet she does them anyway. Antigone goes inside her house, after hearing the news and tells her sister “Why, a city-wide proclamation, rumor has it, forbids anyone to bury him, even mourn him… who ever disobeys in the least will die, his doom is sealed: stoning to death inside the city walls” (60, 33-43). Antigone knows that death is the punishment for burying Polynices. She also knows that attempting to bury Polynices is a death wish. The pain and embarrassment from being stoned to death, is what this masochist is seeking for. Antigone committed the crime knowing that she will die for her actions. Also, she and her sister know that it is a man’s job to bury people, not a women’s. When Antigone is trying to persuade her sister to join along with her for the burial of her brother, Ismene tells her “Think what death we will die, the worst of all if we violate the laws and override the fixed decree of the throne, its power- we must be sensible. Remember we are women, we’re not born to contend with men” (62, 71-5). Antigone had no excuse for not knowing the punishment, she is informed by her sister, and the streets, of what will happen. She goes and buries her brother knowing what will happen. Women at this time period were not allowed to bury anybody; this power is strictly reserved to the men. When Antigone buries her brother, she knows she will die, and her masochistic ways cause the end of her. Doing the crime is not enough for a masochist, she needed the pain, she had the opportunity to not be in trouble, yet she agrees to every claim against her.
Antigone wants glory from her action, and does not make an attempt to exonerate herself from her...

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