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Feminism and Antigone by Sophocles - Essay Example

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"Feminism and Antigone by Sophocles" paper states that from a modern perspective it might not be seen as a feminist work, but when put into context with the time period in which it was written, Antigone has informative feminist messages that can be found within the actions of the protagonist…
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Feminism and Antigone by Sophocles
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Download file to see previous pages When taken in context, he speaks like a man whose superiority is being challenged and would likely be the reaction of any male from the time period.

 The people of ancient Greece lived under a form of society in which men were considered relevant through their actions and thoughts, but women were relevant through the males that they were attached to within society. According to Blundell, women had “no independent existence” (114). No matter what configuration of her family, whether she had a father or a husband, the female was always under the control of a guardian or a kyrios who acted as an intermediary between the private sphere in which she would remain and the public sphere where women had no real place. (Blundell 114).

When Antigone stood up against Creon for what was right, she was defying cultural norms as well as her king. When Creon states “I’m not the man, not now; she is the man if this victory goes to her and she goes free” (1075), he is speaking about his position in society and the point of view from which men considered women in general. Antigone defies not only a male figure but a king who has commanded that she not bury her brother. According to Soderback, Antigone represents “a radical democracy with a feminine face” (28). She is maternal and nurturing to her family, the needs of her brothers a part of the considerations that she makes on their behalf. Soderback describes this as an act that provides a bridge between the private and the public spheres as the authority of the public sphere intrudes upon a family matter or burial. She states that Antigone “exemplifies social feminist defiance of the impersonal, abstract, and rational standards of statesmen, a feminism that tempers and chastens arrogant state power by humanizing and personalizing social life” (Soderback 29). In this way, Antigone explores the division between the public and private spheres, overlapping them through defiance so that what is right for her family is accomplished over what would symbolically serve the state. Antigone has formed opinions that are independent of the men around her and positioned within the strength that she has gained from her position in the private sphere. Out of love for her family, she wishes to bury Polynices because she knows that this is right. She tells Creon that she will do what is right by the gods rather than by man’s law, clearly declaring that his will was not relevant to what she did in burying her brother. In the end, Antigone still remains in control over her situation. She is doomed in a prison where she has been walled in and will starve, but instead of letting Creon gain this punishment over her, she takes her own life. While she is invested in the private sphere, she negates the superiority of the male-dominated public sphere in all that she does. In creating a discourse on the equal importance of her duty, she asserts feminist ideals. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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