Antigone vs. the Hunger Games: Gender Roles

Antigone vs. the Hunger Games: Gender Roles

McKnight 1 Jasmine McKnight Warlop English ACC 10 29 April 2013 Antigone vs. The Hunger Games: Gender Roles Looking through a historical lens, gender roles for men and women have changed significantly. Men were perceived as being the most critical part in society as evidence by men having the highest paying jobs, and the most dangerous jobs, owned property, and could wed and divorce any woman at their will. In opposition, women were thoroughly encouraged to work at home, tend to plants, household duties, and care for children.

Antigone, a play by Sophocles, is a perfect example of the historical context of gender roles. The contemporary film and book, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is the complete opposite. It shows the evolution of gender roles from thousands of years ago until now. In Antigone, the women were expected to do as they are told without any question or reluctance. “Think how much more terrible than these our own death would be if we should go against Creon and do what he had forbidden! We are only women; we cannot fight with men, Antigone! (Ismene 62)While men were able to create laws and for the most part do what they wanted, women were considered weak, unworthy of the privileges given to men, and in need of a man’s protection and should be left under a man’s watchful eye. This was one of the main reasons as to why women did not or could not have what the men had. While Antigone portrays the typical historical look at gender roles, the more contemporary film, The Hunger Games, depicts that as men and women have equal gender roles. “Our part of District Twelve, McKnight 2 icknamed the Seam is usually crawling with coal miners heading out to the morning shift at this hour. Men and Women with hunched shoulders, swollen knuckles, many who have long since stopped trying to scrub the coal dust out of their broken nails. ”(The Hunger Games 4) women and men worked side by side for the tasks provided to them. They also got the same treatment, whether it was complementary or punishment for doing something incorrectly. They also got to work the same hours, which was very different from Antigone.

The men and women coal miners worked from early morning to late night. The Antigone play emphasizes the point of women being less capable and less knowledgeable than men. “Women may be educated but they are not made for the higher sciences, for philosophy… which requires a universal element. Women may have insight, taste and delicacy but they do not possess the ideal. “(Hegel’s Ethnics of Recognition 221) This quote implies that women can be educated but they are not, and will not ever, be smart enough for the “higher sciences”.

This was also one reason as to why women weren’t allowed to have a proper schooling education, and again, were not permitted to do many things. Women and men in The Hunger Games are equivalent in their area of knowledge. Chances and consequences are equal in The Hunger Games, however in Antigone, men have better chances at most thing and less harsh consequences. The women of Antigone have less chance but get very high consequences. In Antigone, Creon, the kind, makes and edict, or law, that no one is allowed to bury the traitor, Polyneices, who happens to be Antigone’s brother.

Antigone is very aware of the law but goes against it and buries her brother. Her tiny “crime” was punishable by death. McKnight 3 Women were also stereotyped as being sensitive and emotional creature in need of 24/7 male attention as depicted in Antigone. “Think how much more terrible than these our own death would be if we should go against Creon and do what he had forbidden! We are only women; we cannot fight with men, Antigone! ”(Ismene 62) Contrasting Antigone, excessive stereotypical-like women, in The Hunger Games, some women are expected to shield their true feelings to protect their families. But I’ve had a lot of practice at wiping my face clean of emotions and I do this now,”(Collins 40) In society, women are perceived as being overly sensitive and emotional but in The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, when faced with a challenge, Katniss manages to step away from her emotions to protect her family and district. (Gender Roles in The Hunger Games 1) In The Hunger Games, the gender characteristics are actually switched between the male and female. To be specific, Peeta, the lead male, was perceived as being girly or having some girly traits.

Katniss however was seen as an unusually independent and strong woman. This shows the difference of the stereotypical male and female in Antigone as well as modern society. Instead of being weak and in need of male attention, gender roles have evolved to men not being so harsh and over protective and women being stronger and less needy. The men in Antigone would much rather die than to lose a fight or battle to women. “…And no woman shall seduce us. If we must lose, let’s lose to a man at least! Is a woman stronger than we? (Creon 79) if a man lost a battle to a woman, they were seen as weak and pathetic in the historical times. This quote also shows they growing rate of male dominance in this society and women’s decreasing active work in public affairs. Not only were women see as weaker they were also seen as less educational and having less abilities to learn. McKnight 4 Between Antigone and The Hunger Games, the differences in gender roles are clear. In Antigone, women had fewer rights and were subordinate to any male. These actions truly reflected upon that times actually way of living.

It was also the stereotypical “men are stronger, women need men” society. However, in The Hunger Games, male and female dominance was about the same. Within the district, the men and women had the same jobs and tasks; they both worked within the coal mines, they both worked in stores, they both tended to household duties, they both hunted for food for their families, and last of all, they all (male or female) were chosen equally for the annual hunger games. With these two texts contrasting, it shows the evolution of men and women’s roles in society throughout their lives.