Essay on Sophocles' Antigone

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In ancient Greece, men who died in war fulfilled the civic ideal to the utmost. The women, destined to live out a degrading life, died in bed. Certainly, not all men died in battle, but every epitaph shows in one way or another, the city would always remember the men who died in war. Additionally, not all Athenian women died in bed; nonetheless, it was left to her family to preserve the memory of her not the city. No matter how perfect a woman was she would never receive the same status or level of social expectations from the city that a man received. No accomplishments were allowed beyond living a life of motherhood and submissiveness to a man, namely her husband. In fact, in early Greece, women were typically viewed as subservient to men, submissive in their actions, and of a status only slightly above slaves; however, Antigone was not your typical Greek woman.
Many ancient Greek Philosophers have written and expressed their views on women’s’ status in ancient Greece. One author, Sophocles, wrote plays about how you cannot escape fate, because the Gods give fate and men cannot escape what the Gods decide. Sophocles shows his case in point, that human laws can destroy a city, using Antigone as a noticeable illustration to show his points. Pericles according to the author Thucydides has hardly anything to say about women, but when he does, it is in a demeaning statement. Socrates never says anything in reference to women, but more to society in a whole. Finally, Sappho’s writings have been threatened to be destroyed because of her indifferent views towards women and how she portrayed them.
In the play Antigone, Sophocles stretches the role of a woman. There is a battle between what is right and laws of Gods or laws of man. Sophocles places Antigone in this fight against her Uncle Creon. Antigone stands up for ancient law and Creon stands up for man’s law. Creon voices his opinion on how he feels about women in ancient Greece. Creon states “We must defend the men who live by law, never let some woman triumph over us. Better to fall from power, if fall we must, at the hands of a man – never be rated inferior to a woman, never.” (Pg. 77 – line 755-762)
Antigone, with her sharp tongue, challenges Creon with what she feels is right “It wasn’t Zeus, not in the least, who made this proclamation – not to me.
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