Greek Mythology and Antigone

Greek Mythology and Antigone

In Greek mythology, very few women possessed the strength, power or influence of men. Heroes such as Zeus, Achilles, and Odysseus were strong and brave; the stuff legends are made of. In contrast, women who are mentioned in this canon of the mighty, are typically referred to as the wife, support and nurturer to the all-powerful man. Yet, Sophocles, taking a bold step outside the box, created the character, Antigone, a woman who is unmarried, rebellious and powerful, and he uses her as a means to set an example of what may happen when a woman takes leadership and authority in a civilization rightfully controlled by men.

If a male committed the same actions as Antigone, the results would have been remarkably different. King Creon states, “pass, then, to the world of the dead, and, it thou must needs love, love them. While I live, no woman shall rule me” (Sophocles, 1994-2009, p. 106). This here shows King Creon’s tone of feelings towards women. He felt that if a woman were in control, Creon would face complete failure. Therefore Creon must take action to prevent this outcome by making sure the entire city sees that Antigone gone her punishment as his revenge against a woman from a readers view.

Creon actually admits that he thought a man had buried Polyneices “but all the men who wrought this thing for hire have made it sure that, soon or late, they shall pay the price” (Sophocles, 1994-2009, p. 57) before he learned of Antigone. If the man had been caught, he would have faced death almost immediately after a torture and questioning session. However, Antigone was sent to a cave to sit in and die, which sparred her for a little while but leaving Creon quite disappointed as well as confused as she was about to be marry his son Haemon.

Creon had no intention of a woman breaking his laws thus leaving him unprepared and mentally lost. This verdict of Antigone’s crime eventually leads to Antigone committing her suicide. Greek mythology portrayed a king as very dominant ruler with little remorse. Any type of rebelling would result in a disciplinary action. Upon learning of the burial, Creon quotes “if ye find not the very author of this burial, and produce him before mine eyes, death alone shall not be enough for you (Sophocles, 1994-2009, p. 56).

This tone indicates the dictator that he is as he shows no remorse rather it was a woman, family or man. He goes on to say “ill first, hung up alive, ye have revealed this outrage,-that henceforth ye may thieve with better knowledge whence lucre should be won (Sophocles, 1994-2009, p. 56). Creon believed this was the way to handle the broken rules of Polyneices flesh, as he as well believed that they would “learn that it is not well to love gain from every source.

For thou wilt finds that ill-gotten pelf brings more men to ruin than to weal” (Sophocles, 1994-2009, p. ). Creon explains his point of view to what will happen disregarding the societies opinion for punishment. A female ruler would most likely take a different approach and be led by the guidance of society. This approval of society would allow a female to gain power and knowledge. King Creon could not have that as a woman was supposed to be below a man. Back then; this would be an embarrassment among men due to a woman disrespecting the rules of a man’s law. Women were never given the option to even make an initial decision let alone decisions against a kings ruling.

They were not even allowed to choose their own husbands as they were only seen as objects instead of a human being. However, Antigone made it known of her imagery tough as nails act by placing the dirt on her brother anyway. The father figure of the family will often take charge. A passage of the play shows Ismene stating her opinions toward Creon. Her opinions upset and disappoint Creon as he said to Ismene, “I like not an evil wife for my son,” (Sophocles, 1994-2009, p. 144) he mentions.

As they continue to argue, he says “Enough, enough of thee and of thy marriage and “Tis death that shall stay these bridals for me” (Sophocles, 1994-2009, p. 146 & 148). Creon’s displeasure makes him wonder about putting an end to the marriage. Under his power, he believes an end to marriage is susceptible. God’s law may have a different opinion on marriage and tends to be the route Antigone views. Sophocles shows how the power of a woman can demolish a society during this time era. At the beginning, Creon has everything from a wife to a loving and respectable son.

In addition, he as well had a soon to be daughter in law that he later viewed as evil. In the end however, King Creon keeps his crown and power but loses those around him as the consequences he should have suffer for the rest of his life. As the story ended though, King Creon does in fact die due to old age. He got to live and rule his city based on his dictatorship while the rest of his family were thrown under six feet under due to a woman making a stand in his presence. Through Sophocles, a woman can ruin the reputation of a man but will never rule in complete power.