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Female Characters In Sophocles's Antigone And Ismene

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It’s often said that one should let their heart control their actions, rather than let their mind ruin what they truly want. This struggle on whether to follow your conscience or to side with the demands of the authority is presented in Sophocles's Antigone. The two main female characters in this tragedy, Antigone and Ismene are shown in different lights: Antigone is presented as a brave woman who dared to disobey the king; Ismene, is simply just the frail sister of Antigone. Their lifestyle, personality, and moral compass influence their actions throughout the tragedy. Antigone and Ismene show great contrast from each other but their morality determines the fate of their lives. Through analyzing these two female characters, it can be seen…show more content…
Throughout the tragedy Antigone never fears Creon, the king, despite her knowing what fate lies ahead of her, she stands by her decision accepting the dire consequences that follow, simply replying to Creon “I do deny nothing.(208)”. Her assertive behavior to stand up to the authority and coney her opinion is an uncommon trait for a woman to posses during her time. Antigone is willing to bend the law to do what is morally correct whereas Ismene is worried about the dealing with the consequences of betraying the law. In the tragedy she is portrayed as a submissive girl, whose acquiescence towards the law, preserves her life She constantly encourages Antigone to stop resisting against the law and to follow Creon’s wishes, telling her “We are only women, we cannot fight men! (191)”. This indicates Ismene’s obedient behavior towards the law and how she doesn't wish to create a disturbance. Ismene further explains how women were supposed to behave in an orderly fashion rather than question the laws. Her quiet behavior is distinctively different than Antigone's outgoing…show more content…
Her assertive behavior is a quality that isn't normally favored on women. Antigone’s individuality separates her from other women of her time. Ismene, on the other hand, is portrayed as a helpless woman who refuses to do anything that could potentially endanger her life.The character of Ismene lacks courage and shows no signs of bravery and her conformity to the authority protects her life. Though Ismene knows what Creon is doing is morally incorrect she must “yield to those in authority(192)” or else risks the danger of losing her life. Ismene continuously takes on the prevalent subordinate role of women and gives into the law whereas Antigone displays the courage to follow her conscience against the demands and laws of authority. Antigone’s strong will and courage to stand up to the king makes her an admirable heroine. Her unique qualities are amplified when compared to Ismene whose beliefs are contradictory to her sisters. Ismene's passive behavior adds a veil of color to the background simply just saturating the importance and uniqueness of Antigone's
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