Comparing the Family in Antigone and A Rose for Emily

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Importance of Family in Antigone and A Rose for Emily

As much as society tries to deny the fact that the family that one comes from determines their fate, in almost every case this very fact is true. Today, we see how infants who are born into wealthy families are treated differently than children who are born into drug and disease-stricken poverty. Higher classed people stand out in society on both a local and national level much more than the average middle class working family.

In Sophocles' play, Antigone, Antigone is unable to hide who she is, and the family she comes from determines the way she is treated among her peoples. Likewise, in William Faulkner's, A Rose for Emily, a woman who was forever protected by her father and was never given the opportunity to flourish on her own, becomes a hermit to her own society. The family she was born into created barriers that she could not overcome. Birthright is the driving force that both Antigone and Emily face in their stories, and the authors, Sophocles and Faulkner both use this concept to convey a strong message.

Antigone is a young woman whose moral background leads her to go against the wishes of the king to bury her brother, Polyneices. Sophocles uses Antigone as a character who undergoes an irreversible change in judgment and as a result, ends up dying. Antigone is hero, and she stands for honor, and divinity. Because Antigone's parents were Oedipus and Iacaste, she was born into a family of power; something that she could not change. At times, Sophocles leads the reader into thinking Antigone wishes she was not who she was. Ismene, Antigone's sister, refuses to help Antigone because (as she states) "I have no strength to break laws that wer...

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...rmine the right of a character. In Antigone, Antigone uses the power of her family name to go against the wish of the King in order to simply give her brother a proper burial. In A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner shows the vast influence a father can have on his daughter. Even though he is dead, his strong dominating presence is still very much alive in Emily. The topic of birthright in both stories is apparent in that Antigone goes against the common way only because of who she is, and Emily hides herself from society because she does not know any other way to live.

Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily. Taken from Abcarian and Koltz, "Literature: Reading and Writing the Human Experience." St. Martins Press. 1998.

Sophocles. Antigone. Taken from Abcarian and Koltz, "Literature: Reading and Writing the Human Experience." St. Martins Press. 1998.
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