Women In Greek Society And Sophocles Antigone English Literature Essay Free Essay
Male-dominant societies are merely as common now as they were back so. Womans throughout history have invariably stood in the shadows of work forces. Three characters from Sophocles ‘ Antigone will be examined to demo the portraiture of adult females in Grecian society. The ideal of adult females being weak and inferior to work forces and kept segregated was merely that in Greek society and is portrayed through the character Ismene, who is Antigone ‘s sister. The thought of how some Athenians wanted to believe work forces were the superior 1s and adult females were deprived of all political rights and maintain under rigorous control can be proven through Kreon who is swayer of Thebes and Antigone ‘s uncle. The character Antigone shows us in world how some adult females enjoyed more freedom than given recognition for. She accomplishes this by stepping out of her topographic point as a adult female in society and demoing us that adult females are strong and capable of doing their ain determinations when she decides to travel against Creon.
The ideal of adult females being seen as weak and inferior to work forces is shown through Antigone ‘s sister Ismene. Ismene ‘s fearful nature is shown from the beginning when Antigone comes to her and portions the intelligence of how Kreon had given their brother Eteokles a proper entombment and decided to go forth their other brother Polyneices unburied ( Sophocles, Antigone 27-31 ) . Antigone believes that this is incorrect and that Polyneices deserves to hold a proper entombment and asks for her sister ‘s aid in burying him, Ismene ‘s responds by stating, “ No we should be reasonable: / we are adult females, born unfit to conflict work forces ; / and we are topics, while Kreon is king ” ( 73-75 ) . This clearly shows Ismene ‘s fearful nature when she says adult females can non contend work forces. Ismene besides displays how inferior she feels adult females are to work forces when she says they are merely topics and Kreon is king. There were regulations enforced on adult females that fundamentally deprived them of freedom, “ regulations that both considered them inferior and made them so ” ( Cantarella 51 ) . This feeling of lower status Michigans Ismene from making what she knows is right merely because it would intend standing up to a adult male. “ What is life when I ‘ve lost you? / What is at that place to love in life? ” ( Sophocles, 673-674 ) She is continually revealed as a demoiselle in hurt when she tries to take recognition in burying Polyneices with Antigone for fright she would be left entirely, one time once more exposing her failing. “ Weak… possibly even incapable of permanent feelings, she was destined for matrimony… That is what adult female is and it should non be surprising as she was taught to set marriage above everything else ” ( 28 ) . This ideal of adult females being seen as weak, non capable of enduring feelings, and that their exclusive intent was to acquire married was really common during those times, particularly in the eyes of work forces. “ Normally a married woman serves her hubby… Her hubby does the shopping ” ( “ Sex and Difference ” 27 ) . This shows a mark of incapableness on the portion of the adult female as she is non even able to shop because from the male position she is non capable of making so. The power work forces held is shown through the segregation of adult females. “ The privacy of adult females within the place had developed into an ideal… ” ( Blundell 73 ) . This privacy is revealed in Sophocles ‘ work when Antigone comes to inquire Ismene if she had heard the intelligence of the edict and Ismene responds she has non heard anything ( Sophocles 11-16 ) . One can construe Ismene ‘s deficiency of cognition of the political personal businesss traveling on around her to be because of her privacy.
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Some Athenians wanted to believe work forces were the superior 1s and adult females were deprived of all political rights and maintain under rigorous control can be proven through Kreon who is swayer of Thebes and Antigone ‘s uncle. Kreon is portrayed as a leader who is chesty and a autocrat in Sophocles ‘ Antigone. At first he thinks that a adult male had done the title of burying Polyneices, but when he finds out that Antigone had done it he is farther infuriated because she is a adult female. “ I ‘m no man- / she is a adult male, she ‘s the king- / if she gets off with this ” ( Sophocles 589-591 ) . He believes that as male monarch he has the right to state what goes and his Torahs must ever be upheld. He says that if she is left unpunished so that would demo that he ‘s powerless. Kreon shows Antigone who ‘s in charge when he sentences her to decease. His chesty nature and sexist attitude towards adult females is revealed when he says, “ I ‘m alive though, and no adult female will govern me ” ( 646 ) . Kreon continues by stating, “ If we must fall, better to fall to a existent man/ and non be called worse than adult females ” ( 823-824 ) . Clearly showing his deficiency of regard for adult females because he says if he needs to fall than it is better to fall to the custodies of a adult male than a adult female. Therefore showing his ideas of how he does non experience adult females to be his equal.
How adult females were deprived of all political rights is proven through the fact that, “ there was adult females ‘s entire exclusion from any signifier of political engagement ” ( Cantarella 51 ) . Kreon reveals how they kept under rigorous control when he tells the guards to take both Ismene, even though she had nil to make with burying her brother, and Antigone and lock them away inside so that they will move as adult females and non roll around ( Sophocles 715-716 ) . Harmonizing to Cantarella, “ Womans were progressively excluded… they were really confined within the walls of the house ( in a portion of the house called the gynaecaeum ) ” ( 40 ) . This gives the thought that adult females were supposed to be kept locked indoors and non run approximately in society.
Antigone shows us in world how some adult females enjoyed more freedom than given recognition for. She accomplishes this by stepping out of her topographic point as a adult female in society and demoing us that adult females are strong and capable of doing their ain determinations. She proved to be strong when she follows her witting alternatively of the jurisprudence of the land which she knew was incorrect. By non following the jurisprudence of the land Antigone besides proved that adult females are capable of doing their ain determinations. First, she opposes the male monarch ‘s jurisprudence by burying her brother. “ And Death is a god / who wants his Torahs obeyed ” ( Sophocles 634-635 ) . She believed that the Torahs of the Gods are more of import than that of the male monarch which is why she gave her brother a proper entombment. Second, Antigone does non deny one time that she is the 1 who buried her brother when caught. This is proven by the Sentry who tells Kreon, “ We accuse of her making it before and this clip, both, / and she did n’t deny a thing ( 530-531 ) . Her finding is shown when she accepts the effects of her actions with pride. When faced against Kreon she says, “ I did it. I deny nil ” ( 541 ) . Not even seeking to conceal anything she openly lets Kreon know that it was her who was responsible for interrupting his jurisprudence. Antigone ‘s actions characterize her as 1 who is brave, willing and capable of standing up to work forces. Unlike her sister Ismene she refuses to give into the function of a adult female who is incapacitated, weak-willed and submissive.
The ideal of adult females being kept under rigorous control and secluded if possible could merely be practised efficaciously among those who were affluent ( Blundell 73 ) . If there were no Wellss in the courtyard of places and no slave-girl to acquire the H2O, adult females would hold had to travel the populace fountains regularly themselves ( 73 ) . Even though a figure of male authors do non speak about the friendly relationships between females it is certain that they existed ( 73 ) . It is besides known that adult females went to each other ‘s houses for tunneling salt ( 73 ) . They besides went to each other ‘s places to help adult females when they were in labor, or for the jubilation of a new born babe ( 73 ) . “ Even upper-class adult females would hold been expected to look in public when they were executing spiritual responsibilities or go toing nuptialss or funerals ” ( 73 ) . This shows that the thought of adult females being kept inside the place and under rigorous control was merely an ideal and non world. As mentioned earlier even though the hubby did the shopping, this did non halt some of the adult females from “ running stables in the market-place merchandising flowers, veggies or staff of life ( 74 ) . Under such fortunes it is instead difficult to state that Athenian adult females were segregated, deprived of all political rights and maintain under rigorous control when they are out and about selling points. This farther proves that in world some adult females enjoyed more freedom than what some idea.
In decision, the ideal of adult females being weak and inferior to work forces was portrayed though Ismene. Her failing and feeling of lower status is shown throughout Sophocles ‘ Antigone but most notably in the beginning when Antigone asks for her aid in burying their brother. She refuses and displays how inferior she feels adult females are compared to work forces when she says they are merely topics and Kreon is king. The belief that work forces were the superior 1s and adult females were deprived of all political rights and maintain under rigorous control can be proven through Kreon the swayer of Thebes. Womans were excluded from take parting in political personal businesss of any signifier ( Cantarella 51 ) . Kreon reveals the rigorous control under which adult females were kept when he tells the guards to take both Ismene and Antigone and lock them away inside so that they will move as adult females and non roll around ( Sophocles 715-716 ) . Antigone on the other manus proved that adult females had more freedom than given recognition for when she decides to travel against Kreon and make what she felt was right by burying her brother. She shows that adult females are strong and capable of doing their ain determinations. Besides, even though adult females were said to be segregated there are a figure of incidences which proved that that truly was non the instance for all adult females.