Antigone and Tragedy Archetypes and Art

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Antigone as a heroic and tragic archetype must internally struggle with individuality and morality versus established rule and law and she can be seen as externally fighting between her sister as an outward display of her internal conflict. Antigone then is a unique archetype as a heroine and her power and powerlessness are defining to her as a woman in politics. Her sister, Ismene is portrayed as much weaker and can be said to be metaphorical in that individual morality is weak as compared to established law and Ismene is the personification of morality in a legal-rational world, according to the emerging Hellenistic establishment. Antigone is willing to use her own morals to bury Polyneices, though it is illegal to do so. Ismene is too weak and afraid and illustrates how individual fear and weakness are a problem inherent in human nature. When Antigone disowns her, it could be seen as a metaphor for the need to disown the weaker side of her nature.
This sibling relationship should be further examined, because it has been largely ignored by other scholars and this relationship is rich with literary and political significance. “Most contemporary political theorists… have focused on the fearsome clash between Antigone and Creon. The relationship between Antigone and her weaker, more cautious sister Ismene has not garnered similar attention” (Kirkpatrick, 2001). Though Antigone as a character can be analyzed through the lens of law and political science, her relationship to a weaker sister is more than interesting. As Antigone is willing to use civil disobedience to live by her own morality, the reader must also examine how a weaker and fearful person might not be able to use their own judgment and Ismene is a perfect exam...

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...f study within literary communities on these feminine relationships and that is promising as it is necessary to furthering the whole of Antigone and all it offers to readers.

Works Cited

Englestein, Stefani. “Sibling Logic; or, Antigone Again”. PMLA, Vol. 126, No. 1. 38-54. (2001). JSTOR. Web.
Kirkpatrick, Jennet. “The Prudent Dissident: Unheroic Resistance in Sophocles' Antigone”. The Review of Politics, Vol. 73, No. 3. pp. 401-424. (2001). JSTOR. Web.
****Sophocles. Antigone.
Tiefenbrun, Susan W. “On Civil Disobedience, Jurisprudence, Feminism and the Law in the Antigones of Sophocles and Anouilh”. Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature, Vol. 11, No. 1. 35-51. (1999). JSTOR. Web.
Winterer, Caroline. “Victorian Antigone: Classicism and Women's Education in America, 1840-1900”. American Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 1. 70-93. (2001). JSTOR. Web.
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