Ismene: Coward

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade January 2002

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Ismene in all respects is a coward. She deserves everything fate has brought her in the end, and perhaps even more. Through out the play she refuses to help her sister and turns her head to the disrespect that has been shown to her brother, Polyneices. She is subordinate and weak-willed. She refuses to stand up to Creon even though in her heart she knows that his laws are morally wrong. She hides behind excuses, all of which lower herself both as a person, and as a woman.

When Antigone tries to convince Ismene to do the right thing by stating to her: "He is my brother. And he is your brother too." Ismene's only reply is: "But think of the danger! Think what Creon will do!" She proclaims: "We are only women, we cannot fight with men, Antigone!" (Sophocles, pg.187) And yet all so conveniently later on in the play she quickly tries to take credit for burying her brother with Antigone. And not because she's finally mustard up enough courage to stand up against Creon, but because she is simply afraid of being completely alone when Antigone is gone that she is remarkably willing to die then. In my opinion bravery transcends law and the pursuit of personal desire/freedom. Going beyond, believing one is more, she never even bothers to consider such an alternative. Even as a woman of that time and age, even when everyone else tells you yourself are incapable of bravery, it is short of anything but a good excuse. With all due respect, breaking the mold is what bravery is.- -That's what Antigone has done, and that, my friends is what Ismene has not. Hiding in fear, running towards whatever best suits you rather then what is right. That is cowardliness. And that is what Ismene Is.