Womens Role in Macbeth and Antigone
Throughout many pays and novels, women have had important roles of helping form the main characters, in the way they think, move or change the story. Women have always been subordinate to men all through history, but in plays, novels, short stories, etc, they have been given large enforcing roles, showing the power within women. William Shakespeare and Sophocles use guilt, pride, and influence to demonstrate the importance of the women’s role to support the main characters in both the plays of Macbeth and Antigone. In Macbeth and Antigone the authors created guilt for the women to use against the main characters for their advantage.
Macbeth exploits Lady Macbeth to balance Macbeth in the play; many say that Lady Macbeth put guilt on Macbeth into killing for the throne; others disagree and believe that he has his own will power, but it is not as strong as Lady Macbeth. (Shakespeare 50) “My hands are of your color, but I shame to wear a heart so white. ” This is stating that she helped with the murder and yet she feels no guilt, so why should he. Telling Macbeth that guilt is not something you should feel when you gain power. (Shakespeare 148) “Here’s the smell of the blood still.
All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh! ” Lady Macbeth is breaking down from guilt; she is having hallucinations from the night of the murder and only wished to take back what has happened. Antigone utilizes the character Antigone to show loyalty to her family through guilt in the play. In the play, Antigone is a strong woman who stands for what she believes in and is Creon’s Sons fiancee , and uses guilt to have Creon, the king who ordered that no one can bury Polyneices, understand that it is wrong for anyone to be left un buried, especially Antigone’s brother. Sophocles 783) “… but if I had left my brother lying in death unburied, I should have suffered. ” This passage from Antigone is the explanation for her outbreak from Creon’s law. Sophocles creates this line to Antigone to plead for Creon’s sympathy, even if Antigone’s brother was disloyal to the city; he is still a part of the family. Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Sophocles’s Antigone both used the strong and powerful women, Lady Macbeth and Antigone, to create guilt in the plays.
In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is a strong powerful woman, where as Macbeth is weak and a coward, Lady Macbeth guilt’s Macbeth about how much they have done to the king, and yet she has no sign of guilt, while Macbeth is giving in to pressure, so Lady Macbeth tells him he must not be or act guilty. Shakespeare uses guilt against Lady Macbeth so she can get what she wants but, she uses it so much it goes against her. In Antigone, Antigone is strong and fights for what she believes in; even if death is against her she does what she thinks is right.
Antigone not only stud up to the king, but did not feel guilt toward the Creon, only the thought of not burring her brother. The women were both different by Lady Macbeth didn’t feel guilt for killing, but Antigone felt guilty for her brother not allowed to be buried. Macbeth and Antigone’s women characters have a great deal of pride in them and in their beliefs. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is tired of Macbeth being a coward towards killing the king, he is afraid of being caught, he doesn’t want to be king if he has to kill for it, so lady Macbeth helps him out. Shakespeare 38) “We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking-place. And we’ll not fail…” Shakespeare gave this powerful line to show Lady Macbeths power and pride towards having her husband become king. This line in the play is a famous line for the strength it gave Lady Macbeth, but also the meaning behind it, her pride. In Antigone, Antigone was caught covering her brother’s dead body with sand, the watch guards took her to Creon, the king who enforced the law of no burial for betrayers. He only asked for her excuse and how she did nothing, but she stood her ground.
He asked her if she denies what the guards told him. (Sophocles 783) “I do. I deny nothing. ” Antigone’s undersized but sturdy phrase. Sophocles wrote this line to demonstrate her pride in what she did, she loved her brother even if he was disloyal to the city, and she wanted everyone to know that she stood for what she thinks is right; that no matter what you do, you deserve a proper burial. In Macbeth and Antigone, Lady Macbeth and Antigone prove pride is a main attribute to their strong characteristics in the plays.
Shakespeare sets up each character with their own personalities; he gave Lady Macbeth this pathetic character, but is covered up with a prevailing and proud outside. It eventually gives out but she is a ride for your money till she cracks. In Antigone, Sophocles creates this burly, dominant, and proud woman. Antigone, young but great, understands that pride is something you learn by doing something great, such as acting out against the law. Especially for a woman, to have a physically powerful main part is a great stunt pulled by Sophocles.
Both characters form the plays have pride from going against the main character, but Lady Macbeth is pride in her husband and getting what she thinks is good for Macbeth. While Antigone is having pride in the work she has done in the previous acts. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth has an authoritative influence on Macbeth, and characters that surround her. After the witches talk to Macbeth in the first act, she devises a plan to kill the king, so that Macbeth will become the new King. But Macbeth at first doesn’t like the sound of it, but under the influence of Lady Macbeth he falls for it. Shakespeare 26) “And that which rather thou dost fear to do than wishest shoud be undone. Hie the hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear. ” Lady Macbeth figures out this ingenious plan, and wants to tell Macbeth, though he does not plan on going through with it, he caves in Lady Macbeths influence. Shakespeare gives Lady Macbeth this greater power over Macbeth in Macbeth, to symbolize the in charge person, not in control but under the direction of another they lead to greatness.
In Antigone, Antigone influences her sister, Ismene to agree with her on the burial of their brother. In the beginning of the play, Ismene was not going to disobey the law stated by Creon, she was trying to convince antigen out of her doing, but Antigone did it anyway. When Antigone was caught Ismene Came and put herself in the guilt to because she knows that Antigone was right. (Sophocles 785) “But now I know what you meant; and I am here to join you, to take my share of punishment. Ismene said that because she listened to Antigone, and believed that antigen is right. Later in the story, Creon, after throwing Antigone in jail, he fully understands what Antigone meant, and was on his way to free her from the jail, when he heard from a messenger. Haimon is Antigone’s fiancee, and they weren’t allowed to get married under Creon’s rule, but in heaven or hell they can do whatever they want. (Sophocles 806) “Haimon… as he died he gathered Antigone close in his arms he lies dead with the dead, and she is his at last his bride in the hose of the dead. Sophocles has a very intense plot line throughout the play, including Antigone’s influential methods of getting to people. In Macbeth and Antigone, the main ladies were very influential to the main characters by Lady Macbeth telling Macbeth what to do, and how to do it. Different, Antigone influenced the characters by non intentional manners. She did not care if she died, as long as she did what she needed to do, she would be a happy woman, while Lady Macbeth influenced only for the benefit for her and her husband.
In both Macbeth and Antigone, the leading female role played by Lady Macbeth created by Shakespeare, and Antigone created by Sophocles; they had guilt, whether they used it against someone, such as Lady Macbeth towards Macbeth in killing the king, or Antigone as she felt guilty if she couldn’t bury her brother. Also, the characters had pride in what they did, Antigone had pride in burying her brother, and didn’t cared who knew it, and Lady Macbeth had pride in killing to get Macbeth to the top.
Finally, both characters used influence; Lady Macbeth used influence to get her and her husband to be king and queen. While Antigone used influence to get people to understand that no matter what you do you always deserve to be appreciative. Word Count- 1501 Works Cited Shakespeare, William. Macbeth; In the Original and Modern English; A Parallel Text Edition. Ed. Daniel Leary. Logan, Iowa: The Perfection Form Company, 1983. Print. Sophocles. “Antigone. ” The Oedipus Cycle. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitsgerald. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1977. Print.