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Antigone Vs Ismene By Sophocles Essay

568 words - 2 pages

The personalities of the two sisters; Antigone and Ismene, are as different fromone another as tempered steel is from a ball of cotton. One is hard and resistant; theother: pliable, absorbing and soft. Antigone would have been a strong, successful90's type woman with her liberated and strong attitude towards her femininity, whileIsmene seems to be a more dependent 1950's style woman. Antigone acts as a freespirit, a defiant individual, while Ismene is content to recognize her own limitations andher inferiority of being a woman.In the Greek tragedy "Antigone", by Sophocles; Antigone learns that KingCreon has refused to give a proper burial for the slain Polyneices, brother of Ismeneand Antigone. Infuriated by this injustice, Antigone shares the tragic news withIsmene. From her first response, "No, I have heard nothing"(344). Ismene reveals herpassivity and helplessness in the light of Creon's decree. Thus, from the start, Ismeneis characterized as traditionally "feminine", a helpless woman that pays no mind topolitical affairs. Doubting the wisdom of her sisters plan to break the law and buryPolyneices, Ismene argues:We who are women should not contend with men;we who are weak are ruled by the stronger, so thatwe must obey....(346)Once again Ismene's words clearly state her weak, feminine character andhelplessness within her own dimensions. Antigone, not happy with her sistersresponse chides her sister for not participating in her crime and for her passivity,saying, " Set your own life in order"(346). For Antigone, no law could stand in the wayof her strong consideration of her brother's spirit, not even the punishment of an earlydeath. Ismene is more practical ; knowing the task is impossible, she feels thesituation to be hopeless.It is a wonder, which of the two sisters...

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