Antigone and the Characterization of Women

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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, t...

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...ealed by her words “I gaze upon the latest light of day that I shall ever see; Death, who lays all to rest, is leading me… to me no bridal hymns belong, for me no marriage song has yet been sung; but Acheron instead is it, whom I must wed.” She gives this up to bury her brother and to do what she feels would please the Gods. She put his needs, even after he was dead, before her own.

Lastly, Antigone proves that she is stronger than the male, Creon, when she kills herself "We saw her hanging by the neck. The rope was of woven linen of her dress". Creon by this point has caved in by deciding to bury Polynices and free Antigone, but it is too late. She dies an honorable death. In conclusion, we see that she is unselfish, respectful, and virtuous; and therefore, makes the finest decision in the play, which is why the play is named after her and not Creon.
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