Antigone is a real and an outstanding woman who lived in Greek in a town known as Thebes. In the novel entitled Antigone, she is depicted as a character of great heroic nature in her quest for change and refusing the status quo. The courageous woman shows a high sense of heroism in her fight to mainstream women roles in men dominated societal setting. Antigones brothers cause a civil war over their struggle for the throne of Thebes after the death of their father, they die in the process and their dictator uncle Creon takes over (Kitto 15). Antigone who is a staunch believer and understands the importance of spirituality chooses to raise against all the odds and state laws, which are contrary to her belief. Unfortunately, her heroic nature leads to her death; she fought for justice that in the end, she never came to enjoy and this makes an explicit definition of a hero. Therefore, this essay seeks to underscore and depicts the heroic nature of Antigone.
Q1. Describe how Sophocles portrays each of the following characters personalities, functions, and goals: Ismene, Haimon, Teiresias, and the Chorus.
In the play, despite Harmon being Creons son he chooses to go against the wishes of his father, condemn his fathers action. Furthermore, he goes a notch higher to defend Antigone, his father greatest enemy and accusing his father of arrogance and being weak. Following these activities, Haimon is liberal a peacemaker and human at same time courageous in since that he did not fear what will unfold because of his actions. His primary function is mediation as he tries to reconcile his father and Antigone and his primary goal was to feel a united and a peaceful kingdom without segregation and discrimination (Melchinger 22).
Teiresias is the blind prophet in the kingdom of Thebes. He warns Creon about his actions of wanting to kill Antigone and that of delaying the burial of Polynices, claiming that the gods were displeased. He even went further to tell the fate of the kingdom as well as the happening awaiting the Creons family because of gods punishment saying that to confirm this person will despise him and that all the sacrificial offering emanating from the kingdom will be unacceptable to gods. Finally, he advises Creon to free Antigone and bury Polynices immediately to avoid all the tragedies. Teiresias is a prophet and therefore foretells future events. Thus he is an advisor (Kitto 26).
Ismene is a sister to Antigone; she refuses to join her sister to bury their brother out of defiance since she believed it was impossible. Furthermore, in the palace, she used to serve as a foil to her sister Antigone. Ismene is considered as the most beautiful one. She is more obedient to authorities and lawful as she refused to help bury her brother out of the law. She is reasonable, timid, compliant, and plump.
Chorus in the kingdom is a team of elderly Theban men their principal function or purpose is to comment on the different actions in the play, connect the story with myths as well as adding emotions and suspense to activities (Oudemans 28).
Q2. List and explain several of the main themes in Antigone
Gender or the position of women: One of the major theme portrayed in the play in the position of the women or the strength of a woman in the society. This is because Antigone the main act has come out courageously to defend the right of women and the destitute in a male-dominated society (Segal 64).
The rivalry between sisters: the two royal sisters Ismene and Antigone are projected as rivals and foils. Antigone the main character is moody, thin, stubborn, manly, courageous and bold. Her sister, on the other hand, is beautiful, obedient to authority, lawful, plump and reasonable. It is because of this distinct quality that they possess made them always in rivalry and disagreement such as the case with their brother burial.
Q3. Analyze the similarities and differences between Antigone and Creon
One fundamental difference between Antigone and Creon is gender Antigone is a female charged with a special assignment to take care of the family most especially the burial rites. O the other hand, Creon is a male ruler, responsible and charged with the duties for the entire city of Thebes. In religion matter, Creon is seen as a law-abiding ruler as he consults religious authority such as the Tiresias. Following their position, Antigone is a subordinate and follower while Creon is a decision maker and superior (Segal 46).
4. Does Antigone represent all women of her time in her character and behavior? What do you know about the social position of women in classical Athens, during the mid-5th Century B.C?
No. The real act of heroism of the courageous Antigone was made manifest in her struggle to mainstream gender roles in men dominated society. In the ancient or classical Greece, the rights of women were violated, considered to have no rights more so in leadership and administration aspects. Nonetheless, Antigone defies this status quo and rise to fight for the plight of women in the classical Greece (Oudemans 49).
Kitto, H. D. F. Greek Tragedy: A Literary Study. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1954.
Melchinger, Siegfried. Sophocles. Translated by David A. Scrase. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1974.
Oudemans, Th. C. W., and A. P. M. H. Lardinois. Tragic Ambiguity: Anthropology, Philosophy, and Sophocles Antigone. New York: E. J. Brill, 1987.
Segal, Charles Paul. Sophocles Praise of Man and Conflicts of the Antigone. In Sophocles: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Thomas Woodward. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966.
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