Monday, March 18, 2019
Gender Issues in Sophocles Antigone :: Antigone essays
Gender Issues in Antigone champion of the most devastating problems for the Classical Greeks was thewomens issue. Women in Classical Greece were not citizens, held noproperty, and indeed were not even allowed tabu of the house exceptunder guard. Their status differed from that of the slaves of Greeceonly in name. This alone, even so was not a problem -- the problem wasthat the Greeks knew, in their hearts, that this was wrong. Indeed,their playwrights harangued them about it from the pointedness of Athenscontinually. All of the great Grecian playwrights -- Sophocles,Euripedes, Aristophenes -- dealt with the womens issue. All of themargued, in their divers(a) ways, that the women of Greece were not nearlyas incapable and weak as the floriculture believed them to be. All of themcreated female characters of strength and in severalizeigence. But in"Antigone," the discussion reached its peak. Antigone herself, as shestands upon the Grecian stage, represents the highest ideals of humanlife -- courage and resp ect for the gods. A woman, she is provided the exemplum for her society. But how are we to go throughthis? Does the author let the audience go to bed that it is Antigoneherself, not Creon, the "noble-eyed imperator" (453), who is to bebelieved? It is almost inconceivable that the audience would be meantto switch off Creons apparently skillful arguments, for he appears torepresent all that the Athenian should gain for. He stands forobedience to the State. Surely it is his voice we should obey.Sophocles does let us k instanter where the truth lies, and he does this,amazingly, partly through his characterization of Creon. Though Creon on the face of it says intelligent things, there are clues that he is not to betrusted. One would be his discussion of incest with Ismene. Tornbetween her vocation to God and her duty to the State, Ismene, in the thirdact, has run to Creon, planning to tell him of Antigones actions inthe cemetery " O, not for me the dusty hair of youth, / But let us nowunto the palace go" (465), she cries. But Creon, ignoring thesupposedly important information she has to tell -- he has, after all,emptied the Theban coffers, spending money on his innovational spy networkin search of the miscreant -- asks her, instead, to come root withhim. "How long, O Princess, O How long" he states, suggesting atime for their contiguous meeting "Upon the hour of noon, or / Not upon thehour of six." To such a pass has the doomed line of Oedipus come.