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The Character of Antigone
In the times when Sophocles wrote the tragic play Antigone, men believed that they
were superior to women. Ismene, Antigone s sister, acknowledged this belief when she stated,
Remind ourselves that we are women, and as such are not made to fight with men….it s madness
to meddle ( The Daughters of Oedipus n. pag.). However, Antigone was the character that
stood up against male chauvinism. As a woman in Ancient Greece, Antigone was strong in her
qualities of family, religion, and bravery.
(TS)Antigone valued her family. (PS) As Jen Weddell emphasizes, Antigone loved and
respected her brother in life and death despite his actions. (SS) She knew he deserved a proper
burial so that his soul may be released into the next world (n. pag.). (SS) Choosing to honor her
brother, Antigone stated, … I ll bury him myself. And even if I die in the act, that death will be a
glory (Sophocles 19). (PS) Though the previous deaths of her parents were shameful and tragic,
Antigone was left feeling a great deal of pain and sorrow as a result. (SS) In this past situation,
Antigone showed her admiration and love for her parents by laying their souls to rest. (SS)
Antigone felt that by honoring her brother with a proper burial, she was once again giving honor
and showing love to her parents ( Conflicting Values in Antigone n. pag.). (CS) No matter what
the tragedy, Antigone continued to show her faith to her family.
(TS) According to Weddell, religion is a very significant aspect of Greek life, and
Antigone respects the Gods and their laws above all else (n. pag.). (PS) Her sister, Ismene, tries
to talk her into obeying the law of the state and not bury their brother. (SS) Antigone still
chooses to follow the Gods whether Ismene agrees with carrying out the burial or not (Sophocles
18-20). (SS) According to Sophocles Antigone Essay , Antigone stated, I intend to give my
brother burial … -if it s a crime, then it s a crime that God commands (n. pag.). (PS) Again
Antigone shows her respect for the Gods when she is confronted by Creon. (SS) She freely
admits to him that it was she, herself, who went against the state and buried Polyneices. (SS) As
the conversation between the two continued, she confessed to Creon that the laws of the Gods are
more powerful than those laws he had made for the citizens to follow (Sophocles 32-33). (CS)
Her strong beliefs in the Gods are proven when she stated to Creon:
Nor did I think your edict had such force that you, a mere mortal, could override
the gods, the great unwritten, unshakable traditions. They are alive, not just today
or yesterday: they live forever, from the first of time, and no one knows when they
first saw the light. These laws- I was not about to break them, not out of fear of
some man s wounded pride, and face the retribution of the gods (Sophocles 33).
(TS) Antigone was truly brave, regardless of the situations with which she was faced.
(PS) James Weigel, Jr. points this out when he says She is absolutely uncompromising despite
knowing all the consequences beforehand (296). (SS) When informed about the deaths of her
brothers, Antigone was also told that anyone who buried Polyneices would be stoned to death.
(SS) Knowing that she would die for her actions, Antigone nevertheless attempted to give her
brother a proper burial. (PS) Weddell once again contends to the fact that Antigone showed her
bravery when she took her own life. (SS) She took control of the situation she was in by taking
her own life so that she could die with honor and dignity (n. pag.). (SS) In this deed, Antigone
asked that no one pity her, because she felt she was doing the right and honorable thing
(Sophocles 48). (CS) Antigone was not afraid to take a stand for herself to do what she felt was
Antigone was never scared to stand up for what she believed in. Consequences did not
matter to her as long as she was pleasing those she loved and respected. Burying her brother was
the least that she could have done to prove that she loved him dearly. Her family was dear to her,
and the laws of the Gods reigned over all else. She led a very tragic life, but as a woman in those
days, she was very brave. Antigone can be considered as a role model for young women in
today s society because of the strong characteristics that she possessed. However being as brave
as Antigone was is sometimes hard. Still women continue to show their love and honor to what
they believe in, for it is their nature.
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