Misogyny In Sophocles Antigone

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Sophocles’ Antigone: An Athenian Male’s Judgement of Antigone
The presence of gender defined societal spheres within Ancient Athenian society promoted the creation of misogyny. Consequently, misogyny’s presence played a role in influencing a man’s perceptions of a women’s actions. Considering this, Sophocles’ raises a highly polarizing argument within his tragedy “Antigone” through motivating his audience to question their ideals. His audience can either support the upholding of burial rites or oppose a woman surpassing the boundaries of her gender roles and social status. An Athenian audience may have had difficulty choosing between these options because both, performing burial rites and enforcing societal norms, are highly practiced ideals.
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In doing so, Antigone goes against societal norms, which, was viewed critically in Athenian society. An instance of Antigone’s development of masculine roles is evident in her argument towards her cause’s righteousness. In the context of the situation in Thebes, Antigone’s exclamation that “He has no right to keep me from my own!” introduces her intent to challenge societal norms. The prospect of a person of lower societal status, and a woman no less, arguing her cause outweighs a king’s laws would be viewed with harsh critics by a male Athenian audience. Sophocles’ utilizes Creon’s concluding lines, after his confrontation with Antigone, to reflect a misogynistic male Athenian belief. Creon’s statement “Henceforward let – Them stay at stay at home, like women, not roam abroad.” expresses such beliefs because it emphasizes an Athenian woman’s role is in the home, not in politics or elsewhere. Expectantly, a male Athenian audience would support Creon on this matter and further ridicule Antigone for going beyond her womanly roles in the home and becoming involved in affairs outside of her social status. Antigone argues for the righteousness of her actions through rhetorically remarking, “Was I to stand before the gods’ tribunal - For disobeying them…”. Rather than stand before the god’s tribunal for not doing what she believed was …show more content…
Taking pride in her actions, especially in the context of what Antigone has done, would only serve to further agitate the male audience’s critical judgment of her character. Upon her initial confrontation with Creon, Antigone demonstrates pride through stating,” Of course I knew. There was a proclamation.”. This statement demonstrates a clear disregard for the rule and order of society as she admits to knowing about the edict passed, yet still, choose to ignore it. For a male audience, Antigone’s pride would be expected to increase their harsh judgment of her actions as she takes no shame in going beyond the defined roles of her gender and social status. Pride was further shown in her character when arguing, “Nor could I think that a decree of yours – A man – could override the laws of Heaven”. Within this statement the words “A man” are between pauses, creating a pronounced effect. From the context, both before and after these words, the audience would have perceived a tone directing insult towards Creon. Those below their king in social status would not insultingly refer to him as “a Man”, however, Antigone has no issue in disregarding the limitations of her position in society. Creon’s own frustration towards Antigone’s’ pride, “And now to that she adds a second outrage – To boast of what she did, and laugh at us.”, suggests an audience would

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