Throughout history, women have always stood in the shadows of men. In many cultures, the role of women has always been to be seen and not heard. As one of the first feminists in world literature, the character Antigone, of Sophocles’ Oedipus Cycle, displays fine characteristics of a great female leader in order to stand up against male dominance for her religious, political, and personal beliefs. When the king denies her brother, Polynices, proper burial, Antigone goes against state law by burying him herself in order to protect heavenly decree and maintain justice. In doing this, she steps out of her place as a woman in a male dominated society.
In order to characterize Antigone as a feminist, it is important to study Antigone’s early childhood, which displays the origins of the characteristics found in her that make her a feminist. In Oedipus of Colonus, Sophocles illustrates these qualities that Antigone possesses. During the first twenty years of her life, Antigone spends her time secluded from society with her blind, exiled father, Oedipus. Sophocles sums up her childhood in the following soliloquy by Oedipus:
"Since her childhood ended and her body gained its power, has wandered ever with me, an old man’s governess; often in the wild forest without shoes, and hungry, beaten by many rains tired by the sun; yet she rejected the sweet life of home so that her father should have sustenance" (Fitts 104). Because she is secluded, Antigone never has to take her place in society as a woman. Without a female role model to show her how a woman is supposed to act, there is no one to raise her as a woman. She spends her days taking care of her blind father and leading him. Sh...
... middle of paper ...
...Creon, when she kills herself causing Creon to lose. Creon at this point has caved in by deciding to bury Polynices and free Antigone, but it is too late. She dies an honorable death for future feminists.
Since Sophocles wrote Antigone, there have been thousands of literary works about feminists and their movement to let their voices be heard over men. Through her strong will and bravery, Antigone made her political, religious, and personal beliefs seen. She died in order to win against men even when no one else would stand up to male dominance. For these reasons, Antigone is a prime example of a great feminist in world literature.
Fitts, Dudley and Robert Fitzgerald. The Oedipus Cycle. Trans. Sophocles. Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1977.
Sophocles. “Antigone.” Literature and the Writing Process 5th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 1999.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- During the time that Sophocles wrote The Oedipus Cycle, women are portrayed negatively as weak and mindless; Sophocles develops this through his use of characters, actions and thoughts. We can observe these negative attitudes about women in characters such as Iocaste, Creon and Ismene. These characters’ beliefs about gender roles affects their every action and reaction throughout the story. The Oedipus Cycle by Sophocles could be read as a critique of women’s roles. As we consider these roles, we can look at Antigone who goes against the established expectations of the woman’s role of the time and stands up to Creon when she thinks he is being wrongful.... [tags: women's role, antigone, oedipus cycle]
1017 words (2.9 pages)
- Sophocles’ play Oedipus and Antigone have many parallel themes and conflicts. Certain characters and events are mirrored and go through similar sequences in both plays. One conflict that is prevalent in both plays is the idea of loyalty. In Oedipus, many are loyal to Oedipus, including the city of Thebes itself. In Antigone, there is much strife in the relationships as well, and the idea of loyalty arises. In the play Antigone, there are many situations in which loyalty is involved, and in some, conflicts arise.... [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]
756 words (2.2 pages)
- Sophocles' Antigone Theater played a large role in ancient Greek society. The citizens were meant to learn from the mistakes made in tragedies. They should have learned what not to be like as a citizen or human. In the classic tragedy Antigone, the third and final play in Sophocles¹s Oedipus Cycle, there are two main characters, Antigone and Creon. They are both strong willed and stubborn people.... [tags: Papers]
1105 words (3.2 pages)
- Sophocles was a Greek playwright who lived during the 5th century b.c. The Oedipus Cycle is one of his most famous works; the trilogy of plays traces the ill-fated life of a noble blooded man and his descendants. Oedipus at Colonus is the second play of the set. Oedipus at Colonus is set many years after Oedipus the King, and Oedipus has changed his perspective on his exile from Thebes. He has decided that he was not responsible for his fate and that his sons should have prevented his exile. His view has changed from the previous play when Oedipus proudly claimed responsibility for his actions, blinding himself and begging for exile.... [tags: Oedipus Rex, Sophocles]
660 words (1.9 pages)
- Title: Antigone Author: Sophocles Setting: The play takes place in Thebes and starts at dawn following the night Polyneices and Eteocles (Antigone's brothers) fight for the thrown Oedipus (their father) held. Polyneices fights against his own country, the city of Thebes, and his brother fights defending it. They kill each other in the battle and Creon (their uncle and the king of Thebes) decided to leave Polyneices on the field to rot because he defied his own country, and anyone who tried to interfere with his edict would be dealt harsh consequences, even death.... [tags: Sophocles]
1238 words (3.5 pages)
- Tragedy in Sophocles' Oedipus The King and Antigone The Greeks considered tragedy the greatest form for literature. However, the tragic ends for the characters were not ordained or set by fate, but rather caused by certain characteristics belonging to that person. Such is the case with the characters of Sophocles' plays Oedipus the King and Antigone. Oedipus from King Oedipus, and Antigone and Creon from Antigone posses characteristics, especially pride, that caused their tragic ends. As the play progress, other characteristics appear and further add to the problem to such a point that it is inevitable that it will end in tragedy. Therefore the tragedies were not a result of a plot b... [tags: Sophocles Oedipus King Antigone Essays]
1405 words (4 pages)
- Antigone Every classic epic or play has a main character who is, in one way or another, a hero. Whether or not they are righteous heroes is not always the issue, but the fact that they face some sort of challenge and overcome the challenge despite all the odds, is the important issue behind being a hero. In Sophocles’ play, Antigone, two completely different characters could be considered the heroes of the play. Creon is a ruler of great strength who stands against all odds and remains strong and solid until his fall from power.... [tags: Papers]
706 words (2 pages)
- “Antigone & Oedipus” By Sophocles are great stories of Tragedy and adversity. Creon, Oedipus and Antigone are truly engaged in struggle with reality, destiny and self-pity, for life. “Oedipus The King” is the tragic story of a man of a noble structure but is triggered by great tragedies and realities of him-self that shatter his existence. From the beginning of the story Oedipus is shown as a noble caring man. He is greatly worried about the plague in Thebes “but my spirit grieves for the city, for myself and all of you” he tells the priest and his people of Thebes, however He is also impetuous and suspicious of the motive of His friends; But these flaws may not be considered as a reason to... [tags: Tragedy, Creon, Oedipus]
794 words (2.3 pages)
- "I would not count any enemy of my country as a friend." In the play Antigone, written by Sophocles, Antigone finds herself torn apart between divine law and state law. The play opens up at the end of a war between Eteocles and Polyneices, sons of Oedipus and brothers of Antigone and Ismene. These brothers, fighting for control of Thebes, kill each other, making Creon king of Thebes. Creon, as king, gives an important speech to the citizens of Thebes, announcing that Eteocles, who defended Thebes, will receive a proper burial, unlike his brother Polyneices, who brought a foreign army against Thebes.... [tags: Antigone Sophocles Greek Play]
863 words (2.5 pages)
- Sophocles' Antigone 1. - Clearly define by specific traits the character of Antigone and Creon. After her mother committed suicide, her father died and her brothers fought until they killed each other, Antigone projects her strong character with interesting ways of showing it. As the main character with strong values and a stubborn way, she follows the laws of god, without minding the consequences. Antigone is a strong willed woman who wins the respect of the audience by the inner strength and resistance of manipulation she has, showing the potential of human kind.... [tags: Sophocles Antigone]
1173 words (3.4 pages)