Comparing She Stoops to Conquer and Antigone
The women protagonists in the plays “She Stoops to Conquer” by Oliver Goldsmith and “Antigone” by Sophocles succeed in achieving their aim by acting according to the need of their circumstances. In the play “Antigone”, Antigone defies the decree of Creon, the king and buries the body of her brother, Polyneices.
The woman protagonist, Kate Hardcastle in the play “She Stoops to Conquer” is similar to Antigone regarding her firmness in achieving her aim. Kate Hardcastle intends to marry Charles Marlow, who feels at ease in the company of lower class ladies.
On realizing Marlow’s preference for lower class ladies, Kate acts like a lady belonging to lower class and wins the heart of Marlow. Even though Antigone and Kate adopt different ways to achieve their aim, they display a strong determination which aids them in fulfilling their wish.
Antigone, the protagonist in the play “Antigone” dares to act against the ruling of Creon, the King. Ismene advises Antigone to not to put her life in risk for the sake of her brother but Antigone persists in her decision to bury her brother’s body. “But I will go and heap a burial mound over my most dear brother.” (A 4).
On the contrary, Antigone thinks that Creon had no right to prevent her from giving a burial for her brother who had lost his life in the war. “He has no right to stay me.” (A.3). Antigone thought that if she left her brother’s body to be eaten by animals she would be a sister who had been disloyal to her brother.
She regarded that it was her duty to bury her brother’s body and save him from disgrace. Although Ismene refuses to help her, Antigone decides to bury her brother’s body on her own. “My own brother And yours I will! If you will not, I will; I shall not prove disloyal.” (A. 2).
Antigone knew that if she went against the order of Creon, she would lose her life but still she buries her brother’s body and faces Creon boldly when he questions her. “I am here to say no to you and die.” (A. 50). Antigone is assured that she has done the right thing in spite of knowing that she would be termed as a foolish woman, “think me a fool if you like; but it may well be that a fool convicts me of folly.” (A.49).
Antigone disobeyed Creon’s decree but she was sure that she will never be convicted as a traitor, “no one will ever convict me for a traitor.” (A. 47). She garners the courage and in the end succeeds in achieving her aim of burying her brother’s body.
Kate Hardcastle in the play “She Stoops to Conquer” also shows the same determination when she decides to marry Charles Marlow. When her father tells her about the timid nature of Marlow, she resolves to change this trait of Marlow. “Yet can’t he be cured of his …..disposing of the husband before I secured the lover.” (SC 14).
When she discovers that Marlow feels comfortable when he is interacting with lower class ladies, she takes on the disguise of a barmaid. She even alters her speech to present herself as a barmaid, “O la, Sir, you’ll make one ashamed.” (SC 21). Later on she acts and speaks like a poor relative of the Hardcastles, “I hope, Sir, I have done nothing to disoblige you.” (SC 32).
The reason behind Kate’s disguise was to be noticed by Marlow. “I shall be seen, and that is no small advantage to a girl who brings her face to market.” (SC 34). Kate succeeds in her aim when Marlow falls for her, “My very pride begins to submit to my passion.” (SC 58). Kate even convinces her father that Marlow is the most suitable person to be her husband.
Her father accepts her decision and permits for their marriage. “I know you like, I’m sure he loves you, and you must and shall have him.” (SC 63). Kate behaves according to the need of the situation; she bends so that she can conquer the heart of the person she likes. She fulfills her wish by remaining persistent in her decision to change Marlow’s timid nature.
Goldsmith, O. (1991). She Stoops to Conquer. Courier Dover Publications.
Sophocles. (1993). Antigone. Courier Dover Publications.