Antigone – Heroism and Madness
“Antigone” is the root of a deviation in Greek drama due to its strong female lead. The play displays a woman asserting her independence and taking a stand against the patriarchal monarchy found at the time. Moreover, there is a philosophical battle fought in the play dealing with the controversy of the Greek ideals. These aspects and more are evident in the excerpt given for study, for it is apparent that this passage is the thesis statement of Antigone’s actions throughout the play.
One can easily notice, through these lines, that Antigone’s character does possess many contradictory facets, and that could be seen as owing either to the fact that she is merely a particularly damaged product of an outrageously dysfunctional family or to the fact that she existed centuries ahead of her time. Upon reading the required passage, the image of a Greek hero, Hector or Achilles for instance, comes directly to mind.
Defying, rebelling, disobeying and challenging were never traits of a woman at 500 B. C. These were traits of a stereotypical hero with muscle strength and fighting abilities; thus, Antigone “as a first impression” can be considered as a woman “impersonating a male hero, or as a woman with masculine traits. ” In a phallocentric era, disobeying a king suggests a masculine character. No woman would dare to transgress her gender limits and stand up to a man “let alone a king. ” However, Antigone’s words “I did not think your edicts strong enough are profoundly unusual, courageous and lack gender bias altogether. Her expressions show strong traits of vanity, pride, courage and stubbornness.
Her honor comes first; therefore, she grants herself the privilege of “thinking then defying “ her brother must be buried against all gender and civic obstacles. This characteristic can, without any doubt, be considered masculine, for a woman would have been too blind with grief to fight for honor or even consider it. Men, not women, revenge! Nevertheless, the obvious masculine role Antigone plays in the play is faced with an opposing, and equally obvious, feminine one. There is a sense of Antigone’s power, entitlement and devotion painted in this selection.
Although Antigone can be pictured as a wild warrior fighting for the honor of her family, this passion contains a traditional feminine flame regarded in her belief that her brother (her mother’s son), and all the decisions relating to him, belong solely to her. She is definitely a feminist symbol, for she has spent her entire life being dutiful to men (irony at its best! ). Furthermore, Antigone is devoted: devoted to her family, to her gods and above all to her instincts and the emotions that are causing her to suffer.
She has a sense of duty to bury her brother “her own flesh and blood. ” She is a heroine of conscience, a believer in the rightness of her actions and a fighter for the gods. Additionally, Antigone’s words enclose a sense of ridicule, sarcasm and resentment toward Creon, consequently exhibiting a new aspect of Antigone’s character. By facing him with the term: “you being only a man , she is being contemptuous, disdainful and painfully reducing. Creon is her uncle and has been a part of her family for as long as she has lived.
She is familiar with him, and that could probably be one reason why she is reproachful. She holds a grudge against him. Another reason can be related to the fact that she is of royal blood “ just like her dead brother “and Creon is not. ” She might believe herself more entitled to issue edicts with regards to her brother than he is. Also, Antigone is motivated by a fierce loyalty to the gods, and her demeaning approach can be due to her certainty that she is teaming up with the gods to battle human oppression and injustice.
She believes that she is backed up by the gods; henceforth, she is rendered undefeatable. Antigone thinks Creon is “foolish to stand in the face of her actions. Moreover, the lines under study bestow a sense of craziness or madness upon Antigone. By acknowledging that she is glad to die, Antigone sounds completely irrational and suffering some kind of emotional imbalance. Who, but a tormented soul, would be in love with death Sophocles, possibly, portrayed Antigone as such on purpose, for heroines and heroes appeal to audience precisely because they lack good sense.
This can be held clearer in another aspect, for when Antigone says, “I knew that I should die, of course, it is clear she believes herself to be lacking and not worthy of life, probably due to her polluted gene pool. These few lines predict the ending of the play, for it is apparent that Antigone has suicidal tendencies. In conclusion, we are all brought up to the stories of heroic masculine quests balanced by passive women left behind to manage the home front. The chosen passage sets an anomaly to such a cliche’.
Antigone qualifies as heroic by all standards. She is an eloquent and estimable heroine. She has a belief and is not afraid to stand up to defend it. Her social position supplies her with the chance to act heroically. Few women are this fortunate! If it seems like her character possesses many contradictory facets, it is due to the fact that the play was written by a male-writer during a time where women were considered inferior and possessed no heroic aspects. To come up with Antigone at 500 B. C. was an act of genius on Sophocles’s behalf.