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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

right.

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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