Sophocles’ Antigone

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Sophocles’ Antigone The character of Antigone in Sophocles’ play, Antigone, is one of the most controversial tragic characters in classic literature. The war in her city has torn her family apart, caused the death of both her brothers, and created a reason for her to fight against the King, her uncle. Her uncle, Creon, makes a ruling that her brother, Polynices, is not to be buried because he is a traitor, but according to her religion, her brother’s soul will not go to the afterlife until he is buried. In defense of her brother, she buries his body illegally and is subsequently sentenced to death. With her complex patterns of thought, bold actions, and the end she encounters, the character of Antigone causes debate among critics as to whether or not Antigone is in fact a tragic heroine. She can be perceived as a martyred hero, dying for love and religion, or as a fanatic woman who lacks the ability to think rationally. The way in which Antigone’s role is interpreted can further help to interpret Sophocles’ view of women and politics. In taking the view that she is a hero who died for her beliefs, it shows that Sophocles was aiming to prove that women deserve to be treated as equals and as citizens of Greece. Sophocles, like Antigone, was born to a privileged family in 496 B. C. in Colonus, a small town near Athens. His life was full of war stories and heroism. When he was a young boy, the Athenians defeated the Persians at Marathon. Later on, he was subjected to watching the burning of his home and the Parthenon by the Persians as well as the building of a new Parthenon. During the last years of his life, the Peloponnesian War raged on full-scale. Sophocles was a general and war hero during some of this time, but also on t... ... middle of paper ... .../sophocles.htm. 10 Dec 2004. Holland, Catherine A. “After Antigone: Women, the Past, and the Future of Feminist Political Thought.” American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 42, No. 4. October 1998. JSTOR. 8 Dec 2004. Saxonhouse, Arlene W. “From Tragedy to Hierarchy and Back Again: Women in Greek Political Thought.” The American Political Science Review: Vol. 80, No. 2. June 1986. JSTOR. 8 Dec 2004. Sophocles. Antigone. Ed. George Young. New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 1993. Sophocles. Antigone. Ed. R. C. Jebb. 17 Dec 2004. Willner, Dorothy. “The Oeduipus Complex, Antigone, and Electra: The Woman as Hero and Victim.”American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 84, No. 1. (Mar., 1982), pp. 58-78. JSTOR. 6 Dec 2004.

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