Gender Stereotyping in "Antigone".

Essay by omniromHigh School, 10th gradeA+, November 2003

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Antigone - Prompt #3


"Die then, and love the dead if thou must; No woman shall be the master while I live (184)."

This quotation portrays a powerful and important theme about gender and the role that a woman plays in Greek society. Antigone's gender has an incredible effect on the others around her, for her actions don't constitute those of an average woman in Greek society. An average Greek woman is characterized as subservient and passive, but Antigone possesses independent, strong-willed characteristics that make her intimidating to the men around her. Creon says himself that the need to defeat and control her is greater because she is a woman. Antigone rebels against social structure because she is caught between serving two different men. The first is her deceased brother, while the second is her hostile ruler. However, Creon is more than just her king, he is also her future father-in-law, as well as her guardian since the exile of Oediupus.

Her feminine obligations are to men, but she is torn between the two opposing forces in her life. In a sense though, Antigone is indeed following the gender role of a woman, because she is serving a man, her brother, Polyneices. Antigone's individualistic social rebellion is exceptionally intimidating to Creon because it upsets gender roles in hierarchy. This propagating insurgence disrupts social order and his authoritative power, causing the unsteady Labdacids to return to a previous state of chaos that it experienced during the war. By refusing to be acquiescent, she upsets the principle rules of her antediluvian culture. This overturning of the fundamental order of Greek culture can be seen when Creon rambles to the chorus about the decision of whether or not to kill Antigone. "Now if she thus can flout authority unpunished, I am woman,