She pleads to Antigone, “what life is dear to me bereft of you?” (Sophocles 136). Ismene would rather die than live without Antigone. In deciding to give her life for her brother, Antigone neglects her sister, and acts selfishly. She therefore should not have signed herself over to death as it has severely negative effects on her only living
Through their actions throughout the play Ismene and Antigone are loyal to their family yet in very different ways. Throughout the play Antigone is portrayed as a heroine for responding to her duty to bury Polynices. If she did not bury him his legacy would be tarnished. However, on the opposing side by not obeying Creon her uncle people may begin to question his authority if his own niece does not obey him. In the end Antigone chooses to obey the gods and “loving and loved [she] will lie by [Polynices’s] side,” (Sophocles 3).
However, Antigone places her individual conscience and love for her brother Polyneices above and against the power and authority of the state, which costs her life. "You ought to realize we are only women, not meant in nature to fight against men, and that we are ruled, by those who are stronger, to obedience in this and even more painful matters." In the opening of the play, Antigone and Ismene meet in the night. Antigone laments Creon's decree that whoever tries to bury Polyneices or mourn for him must be stoned to death. Although Ismene declares that the sisters lack any power in the situation, Antigone insists that she will bury Polyneices, and asks for Ismene's help.
At this point in the story Ismene was not willing to sacrifice her life for her brothers honor. She still wanted to help, but she was too afraid of what the punishment would be. For example Ismene stated, “I beg the Dead to forgive me, but I am helpless: I must yield to those in authority.” After Ismene refused to help, Antigone became angered and said that she would not want her, even if she asked to go along.
Antigone is now determined to bury her brother and wants Ismene to help her. Ismene does not want to go against what the king has ordered and is fearful of what may become of her if she partakes in this journey to bury her kin. Antigone does not even think of the king as a threat and she does not believe that even he could stop her from burying the body of her beloved brother. Ismene tells her sister that she does not think that it is right to go against men and the powerful laws. She believes that it is not good to get involved in things that will draw attention to you, especially when they involve immediate disrespect for the king’s orders.
Antigone feels as if Ismene is betraying her and their family since she will not consent to help her bury their brother. Towards the end of the play, Ismene changes her mind and tries to claim that she helped Antigone bury Polyneices so that she can die with her sister. Antigone became furious, “Don’t try to share my death or make a claim to actions which you did not do. I’ll die, and that will be enough” (Sophocles 625). Antigone is upset that Ismene wouldn’t help her in the first place, but she wants to take the blame now.
Therefore, if he denies Hermia her happy marriage, she will live in sadness, which will have a similar effect on him. It is unlike most parents to let their children undergo suffering if it will last many years in marriage. Instead, Egeus insists that Hermia should marry Demetrius, although Hermia does not have feelings for him. His actions show that her father is foolish to the extent that he is willing to ruin her life. In fact, Egeus gives ultimatums to her daughter that she would rather die or be a Nan if she fails to comply with his demands.
Although Creon views Antigone as a criminal for most of the play, Antigone’s heroic actions towards her family made Creon change his mind which ultimately makes Antigone a martyr and Creon a tragic hero. Antigone wants justice for her brother who was killed in the war and left without a proper burial. Antigone will do anything in her power; even die, to make sure her brother is buried according to the god’s law. Family is very important to Antigone but not even family can stop her from making her decision to defy Creon’s law. Antigone demonstrates her strength as both a character and a female heroine throughout the entire play.
However, compliance is not enough for Antigone. The desire to honor her brother goes way beyond her instinct to protect herself. Antigone finally accepts that her sister is not going to help her in her mission: “Go be the person you’ve chosen to be./ I’ll bury Polyneices myself. I’ll do/ what’s honorable, and then I’ll die.” (Antigone lines 84-85) This statement proves that Antigone is aware of what the consequences for her actions will be. She comprehends that choosing to defy the government by honoring her brother will end in certain death, and she seems at peace with her decision.
Antigone feels because she and Ismene are sisters and thy feel remorse towards the death of their brother, she should want to help Antigone. Antigone telling Ismene her plans causes feelings that a women should have never had in that time period. Ismene tells Antigone, “We are only women, /we cannot fight with men, Antigone! The law is strong, we must give in to the law” (1.47-49). Antigone is angry for what her sister has said.