Antigone as Amalgamation of Two Sexes
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Although ancient Greece was a male-dominated society, the main heroine of Antigone by Sophocles represents a woman as a strong personality capable of making wise decisions. The author uses typical allegory of role-playing or masking to symbolize a character’s introverted personality.
Antigone puts emphasis on the woman with a strong passion and power who gains the attention and respect of the audience, notwithstanding her unrelenting devotion to an ideal idea, irrespective of the consequences. Thus, she acts like a male, possessing the willpower and inner strength to combat against the circumstances.
Her spirit is filled with passion and boldness. Antigone buries her slain brother in defiance of Creon’s law. She insists on giving her brother a decent burial using the unshakable will and inner strength to resist the forces of fate and people who manipulate her trying to interfere with her purpose.
Antigone is portrayed in the play as a woman with high self-esteem. Her attempts to bury Polyneices in spite of Creon’s prohibiting decree depict the male qualities of Antigone’s character such as resolution, confidence, and courage. Obviously, she has the strong will to be so rigid in her position.
Antigone is so steadfast in her feelings towards her brother that she prefers to die rather than to obey Creon, as her sister persuaded her to do. Antigone accepts all the consequences with pride and does not look like the helpless woman who cannot fight men.
Antigone’s sister, Ismene, is the contrary character to the main heroine, which symbolizes the secondary position of the woman in the Theban society: “We must remember that by birth we’re women, and, as such, we shouldn’t fight with men” (Sophocles 27). While Antigone presents a sensible and strong woman, Ismene embodies mild and meek female characteristics.
Though Antigone impersonates a male role in her resistance to the state, she does not feel hate, but, on the contrary, she shows devotion, compassionate, and love, even to Polyneices who wanted to conquer and destroy her city. Certainly, she behaves like a woman when she says: “But my nature is to love, I cannot hate” (Sophocles 58). In the scene of her legal defense against Creon’s charges of treason, Antigone uses female-centered arguments as well as male-centered ones.
Sophocles potrays Antigone as a personality through whom he can show his faith in the incredible spiritual ability of humankind. He grants his heroine the honorable qualities of soul, heart, and mind, positioning her up as an ideal for all humanity.
Her character is difficult to categorize, as it exemplifies several aspects of sexuality, matriarchy, patriarchy, gender, divinity, humanism, state, and family. It is an epitome of the woman, which breaks the whole model of femininity and its classical role. Antigone discredits the idea that men and women should play their specific roles. She blazed a new path not only in the woman’s and man’s worlds, but also for the family, nation, and humanity. That is why her character is versatile and powerful.
Antigone unites the social elements of two sexes. Nevertheless, while the realization of her legal defense is considered to be the male area, Antigone also shows the qualities that represent her as the woman throughout the play. Therefore, the amalgamation of the two sexes is particularly demonstrated in Antigone’s traits.
The play Antigone delineates a lot of moral values even to the modern world highlighting the fact that the material and physical power cannot match the idealistic and moral strength. It is presented in Antigone with her strong spiritual point against Creon. In spite of losing life for her values, she dies joyous and with a rich history left behind. This is a message that is passed on to the readers.