Sophocles Gender Rules In Antigone

Improved Essays
Sophocles’ Gender Rules
In Antigone, early on it becomes evident that Antigone has a bold and unapologetic character. This characterization is automatically different from the presumed thought of well-known women of the time. Most Greek dramas feature wives who have very few lines and cater to their husbands every need. There are few women depicted in Greek drama able to stand on their own as Antigone did. The sense of feminine inferiority was alive and well in Ancient Greece, as in much of the ancient world. Although the specifics varied from region to region, in general, women had very few human rights. Women were limited in freedom, which deprived them of choice and mobility. Women were restricted from engaging in any activity that would
…show more content…
She is weak and always obedient in behavior. Ismene feels that, in fact, women are submissive to men and they are under the rule of men without a say in the ruling. She states her stance on challenging the superior early on the in play by stating, “you ought to realize we are only women, not meant in nature to fight against men, and that we are ruled, by those who are stronger” (Sophocles 70-71) … Ismene is timid and afraid to trouble the water out of fear of what her edict may say. She mimics the distinctive female patterns expressed by Griffith (123). She embodies the very image that Creon has put forth concerning women. However, Miller describes Antigone’s action as function of her “raving passion” for Antigone (166). Females in Greek tragedies are often featured frequently expressing feelings of fear and grief, praying to the gods for direction or other spiritual rituals, and being referred to for domestic and sexual reasons (Griffith 123). Another characteristic of Ismene that leads to her downfall is her silence. This is a silence that would be considered modest or ideal for women, but viewed as cowardly in men (Griffith 123). This view is directly connected to Ismene’s fear of speaking up when addressed by Creon and Creon’s boisterous nature throughout many of his lines. In contrast to Antigone, her deepest loyalty does not lie with her family, it lies with her superior. Although Ismene does eventually realize the repercussions of her actions, she does not realize that her very character indirectly causes the death of her sister and leaves her miserable. She emphasizes that she cannot bear to live without her sister, but she was not willing to stand by her side in defense of an action that would not cause any bodily harm to anyone and would serve as a step toward improvement to the misogyny in

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Women In Ancient Athens

    • 1073 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Women accepted this because they had no choice. Although many cultures treated women this way, the treatment of Athenian women is particularly upsetting because the ancient Athenians were seen as leaders in democracy and freedom and culture, yet they did not include a major part of their society in their definition of citizenship. How can a society be truly free if half their people are not? How can a culture be truly studied if one cannot understand the true lives of their women? The fact that women in ancient Athens were heavily discriminated against in many ways, including the rights they were given and their representation, shows that there was a major issue with what is perceived as “great Athenian…

    • 1073 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Helen is depicted as a strong figure, who strives for personal achievement in a society where women were often oppressed. The gods subject her to their wishes, creating her to have a disadvantage compared to everyone else. Despite her descent from Zeus, Helen is put in the same category as every other mortal woman. Due to all of this, Helen is unable to reach her full potential in this poem. Causing her to be less important and frankly unneeded to make this story.…

    • 1402 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Introduction Ancient Athenian women were seen as inferior in the male dominated Ancient Greek world. Females were excluded from all public spheres, and barely seen in public. This essay will discuss this statement with reference to the origin of the patriarchal society, and the role which all women fulfilled in Ancient Greek Society, thus will there be refereed to women of different class. Origin of the patriarchal society. Ancient Greece was a saint like society, thus did they believe in the gods and following the views of the gods.…

    • 709 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Essay On Sparta And Athens

    • 1037 Words
    • 4 Pages

    If we look at the equality and women rights, the life of men and women in Athens and Sparta was quite different. Sparta would be considered to be the best polis because Spartan life was simple. The focus was on obedience and war. Life was not easy for Athenian women. They did not enjoy the same rights or privileges as males.…

    • 1037 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    They are seen as beings with either no feelings or with too many. They have too many to go out and fight unsympathetically, however they have no emotions when it comes to hard tasks their husbands tell them to do. They are treated as if they are inferior to men. It is especially apparent in King Creon that this is true. Ismene even says, “We are only women, we cannot fight with men, Antigone."…

    • 1051 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    When people think of goddesses, they think of Hera who was known as the Mother-Goddess, Queen of Heaven, wife and sister of Zeus, mother of children, and very beautiful according to the Greek mythology. However, the authors’ view of Hera was that she was revengeful, cruel, jealous, and capable of anything: Proud, revengeful, and jealous, Hera resented the fickleness of her husband’s affections, and was wont to wreak her revenge on any Being, mortal or divine, upon whom he looked with too much favor. (Guerber, p.33) This solidifies how the author views Hera and how she’s being portrayed. Jealousy, revenge, and these negative traits are the male ideals of a ‘negative women’ just how intelligence, kindness and beauty is the positive side of a…

    • 1209 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Women are nothing but sexual objects to hurt and mess around with when a man feels the need.Therefore, they are not important at least that is how they are viewed in Homer’s novel The Odyssey. Women within this novel are judged mainly on outer appearance consequently the only way a woman could be seen as beautiful was if an individual of a higher power had powerful inner feelings for her. What is seen within the sexist upbringing of this is that the audience only reads about affairs, powerful sons and death.Nothing about what these talented individual women succeeded within their boastful lives. Odysseus shows how an individual woman could potentially “boast a god for a lover”(193). Showing how vile woman unfeignedly are and how frequently they are seen as only sexual objects.…

    • 548 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The role of women in the Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey. Men have always been the central of actions on the Greece history, but women also played a very significant role, which could not be shown by anyone except them. The Odyssey and Gilgamesh are good examples on this. In general, these two stories portray women as being mother, goddess, or even seductress, and in some points, they had power over men, either to control or to guide them. Women in these two epics were also treated differently depending upon who they are, and how much power and influence do they have.…

    • 690 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Women's Role In Sparta

    • 1146 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The Women of Sparta Spartan women in the 5th Century BCE were in many ways completely different to other Hellenic women during this time. Their role as mother, wife and woman were all far beyond what was expected of an every-day Athenian woman. Their way of living was foreign to the rest of the Hellenic world as their roles in society, upbringing, marriage and motherhood all heavily differed from those experienced by women in other poleis lifestyle. However, most evidence of what women’s lives were like in Sparta comes from the writing of male Athenian historians, therefore the validity of their opinions should be viewed with some level of scepticism. Role in society Spartan women played a more prominent role in society than one might have…

    • 1146 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Women have had a long history of being inferior to men. The inequality of genders can be traced all the way back to Greek mythology. Both Hesiod’s Theogony and Homer’s Odyssey demonstrate the Greek’s early thoughts on this issue. Homer and Hesiod would agree that women are deplorable creatures and marriage usually leads to suffering. Hesiod spares no detail of his despise while describing the creation of women in Theogony.…

    • 984 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays