Antigone – the Differences of Two Sisters
The Differences of Two Sisters Antigone is a Greek tragedy that is written by Sophocles. It is about a woman named Antigone fighting for her brother Polyneices’ rights to be buried. Antigone’s sister Ismene agrees that he should be buried but is hesitant about helping. While both Antigone and Ismene are strong women, their views and actions reveal two sisters who are very different. These sisters differ through their attitudes, fear or lack of, towards Kreon, and the laws in which they follow. The sister’s attitudes differ in many ways. Antigone is a very outspoken person.
She does not hesitate to oppose something if it stands in her way. Antigone’s name itself means “to go against. ” She goes against the law in order to honor her brother with a burial for the gods. However, Ismene is the opposite. She is a submissive woman, who conforms to the rules because she is “[just a woman], born unfit to battle men” (23). Ismene believes that Polyneices should have a proper burial but is too timid to do anything about it for fear of what might happen to her. Their attitudes lead them to different feelings towards their King Kreon.
Antigone and Ismene view their King differently; Antigone neither fear nor respects Kreon, while Ismene holds his laws in high respects and is scared by him. Antigone does not fear his wrath and claims Kreon “cannot keep [her] from [her] own” (22). She knows that trying to bury her brother will most likely end with her demise but this does not deter her, she defies him anyway. Ismene is reluctant to participate. She knows what the punishment for burying Polyneices might be and unlike Antigone, she fears the consequences.
Because of this fear, she obeys Kreon’s laws; while Antigone on the other hand does not fear Kreon or his laws, because she follows a higher power. Antigone does not fear man’s law; she follows laws from the gods instead. She believes it is the gods will for her brother to be buried despite the laws set by Kreon. When asked by Kreon if she dared to break the law, she states “Yes, because I did not believe that Zeus was the one who proclaimed it; neither did Justice, or the gods of the dead whom Justice lives among” 39). The women follow different sets of laws; Ismene obeys the laws of man while Antigone adheres to the laws of the gods. Antigone and Ismene are both different in their views, and actions. They both know it is right that Polyneices receives a proper burial but because they are different, only one of them acts upon it. Antigone follows her nature to go against what she believes is unjust and buries her brother knowing all along that the consequence will be her death.