Creon vs. Antigone or Male vs. Female?

Essay by lynnieHigh School, 10th gradeA+, April 2004

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 79 times

In Sophocles Antigone, the title character's gender has profound effects on the meaning of her actions. Creon himself says that the need to defeat her is all the more pressing because since she is a woman her rebellion upsets gender roles and hierarchy. By refusing to be passive, she overturns one of the fundamental rules of her culture. Women were subjugated and supposed to be silent spectators to the world around them as men's, such as Creon's, search for power fuels there desire to put women down to lessen the possibility of a threat. Antigone is a woman who firmly believed in humanly burying a dead body and whose actions changed the course of Thebian history. Her brothers have been slain by each other's swords in battle and Creon, the king of Thebes, has made a decree stating that one brother shall be given an honorable burial for his service to the city, while the other will be given no burial because he is considered a traitor to the city of Thebes.

In Ancient Greece, if a person died and was not given a proper burial, then their spirit would not be able to pass into Hades. Because of this, Antigone is determined to give her brother a proper burial. At the same time, Creon is determined that no one will bury Polyneices and anyone who tries will be condemned to death. Creon and Antigone's conflicting points of view eventually lead to their own demise.

As befits her, Antigone is a loving and loyal daughter and sister. It is precisely this loyalty that makes her an active rather than a static figure. Throughout the play, Antigone amazingly retains the traditional role of women, while at the same time boldly challenging this depiction. This is precisely where...