Moral Lessons in Antigone Essay

3819 Words Mar 20th, 2013 16 Pages
The play Antigone was written by Sophocles around four hundred forty B.C.E, in the height of the golden age of Greece. Theater was then, as it is now, a medium through which to implicate the outlooks of its writer and to examine moral issues, whilst providing entertainment. The subjects discussed through theater were often deeply rooted in the dialogue of the characters in the plays and struck the chords of the audience such that enlightenment could take place, and in that day and age this purpose was valued. Each episode and stasimon was laced with nuances of whatever message the author wished to convey; political themes were common, particularly regarding the foundations of democracy that were being laid, as well as themes of fate and …show more content…
Sophocles also conveys the theme of egalitarianism between men and women that permeates the play through a remark from Ismene- she attempts to urge her sister to "be sensible", advising her that "we are women, we're not born to contend with men" (lines 74-75). This line accurately encompasses the attitude of the Greeks during the time when Antigone was first performed. Uttered by Ismene, though, who was portrayed as weak and feeble, it takes the form of a limitation that begs to be contradicted- a challenge. Antigone directly confronts this unwritten law, and by depicting her as a heroine and Creon an oppressive tyrant, the play endorses gender equality and rebukes the premise that women are inferior.

Another moral issue dealt with in Antigone that was also common to Greek theater is that of the perils of pride and of absolute power. The combination of democratic principles being integrated into Greek society and the value placed in reverence for the gods serves as the backdrop for the play, in which Antigone poses somewhat of a threat to Creon's absolute power by defying a law he lays down which she believes contradicts the will of the gods. Sophocles teaches the lesson that absolute power and pride lead to downfall using the character of Creon; the development of his pride, descent into tyranny, and eventual moment of hubris are outlined in the plot and

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