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Women In Greek Society | Sophocles Antigone

Male-dominant societies are equally as common now as these were in the past. Women throughout history have constantly stood in the shadows of men. Three people from Sophocles' Antigone will be examined showing the portrayal of ladies in Greek society. The ideal of women being fragile and inferior to men and retained segregated was that in Greek society and is also portrayed through the type Ismene, who is Antigone's sister. The idea of how some Athenians wanted to believe men were the superior ones and women were deprived of most political protection under the law and held under rigorous control can be proven through Kreon who's ruler of Thebes and Antigone's uncle. The character Antigone shows us in reality how some women relished more independence than given credit for. She accomplishes this by moving out of her place as a woman in population and displaying us that girls are strong and capable of making their own decisions when she determines to not in favor of Creon.

The ideal of women being viewed as weak and inferior to men is shown through Antigone's sister Ismene. Ismene's cowardly nature is shown from the beginning when Antigone comes to her and stocks the news of how Kreon got given their brother Eteokles a proper burial and decided to leave their other brother Polyneices unburied (Sophocles, Antigone 27-31). Antigone is convinced that this is wrong and this Polyneices deserves to truly have a proper burial and asks for her sister's help in burying him, Ismene's responds by declaring, "No we ought to be smart: / we could women, created unfit to battle men; / and we are subject matter, while Kreon is king" (73-75). This plainly shows Ismene's cowardly nature when she says women cannot battle men. Ismene also displays how poor she seems women are to men when she says they can be just subjects and Kreon is king. There were guidelines enforced on women that essentially deprived them of flexibility, "rules that both considered them inferior and made them so" (Cantarella 51). This sense of inferiority puts a stop to Ismene from doing what she is aware is right because it would mean standing up to a guy. "What is life when I've lost you? / What is there to love in life?" (Sophocles, 673-674) She is continually unveiled as a damsel in distress when she attempts to take credit in burying Polyneices with Antigone for dread she'd be left only, once again exhibiting her weakness. "Weak. . . perhaps even incapable of prolonged thoughts, she was destined for relationship. . . That's what girl is and it should not be unusual as she was taught to put matrimony above everything else" (28). This ideal of women being seen as weak, unable of lasting emotions, which their sole goal was to get hitched was quite typical during those times, especially in the sight of men. "Normally a partner serves her hubby. . . Her husband does the shopping" ("Sex and Difference" 27). This shows a sign of incapability on the part of the girl as she is not even in a position to shop because from the male perspective she is unable of doing so. The power men performed is shown through the segregation of women. "The seclusion of women within the home had progressed into an ideal. . . " (Blundell 73). This seclusion is exposed in Sophocles' work when Antigone involves ask Ismene if she possessed heard the news of the decree and Ismene responds she's not read anything (Sophocles 11-16). You can interpret Ismene's insufficient knowledge of the political affairs occurring around her to be because of her seclusion.

Some Athenians wanted to imagine men were the superior ones and women were deprived of most political protection under the law and maintained under demanding control can be proven through Kreon who's ruler of Thebes and Antigone's uncle. Kreon is portrayed as a leader who is arrogant and a tyrant in Sophocles' Antigone. At first he thinks a man got done the deed of burying Polyneices, but when he realizes that Antigone possessed done it he's further infuriated because she actually is a female. "I'm no man- / she actually is a man, she's the king- / if she gets away with this" (Sophocles 589-591). He believes that as ruler he has the right to say what goes and his laws and regulations should always be upheld. He says that if she is remaining unpunished then that would show that he's powerless. Kreon shows Antigone who's in charge when he sentences her to fatality. His arrogant characteristics and sexist attitude towards women is uncovered when he says, "I'm alive though, no female will rule me" (646). Kreon continues by stating, "If we should fall, easier to fall to a genuine man/ and not be called worse than women" (823-824). Clearly demonstrating his lack of respect for girls because he says if he needs to fall than it is best to show up to the hands of a guy than a woman. Therefore expressing his thoughts of how he will not feel women to be his identical.

How women were deprived of all political rights is proven through the fact that, "there is women's total exclusion from any form of politics contribution" (Cantarella 51). Kreon shows how they placed under rigid control when he says the guards to adopt both Ismene, even though she got nothing in connection with burying her sibling, and Antigone and lock them away inside in order that they will act as women rather than stray around (Sophocles 715-716). According to Cantarella, "Women were progressively excluded. . . these were actually restricted within the wall surfaces of the home (in a part of the house called the gynaecaeum)" (40). This gives the idea that women were said to be stored locked indoors rather than run about in culture.

Antigone shows us in reality how some women savored more flexibility than given credit for. She accomplishes this by stepping out of her place as a woman in population and showing us that women are strong and capable of making their own decisions. She proved to be strong when she practices her conscious rather than the law of the land which she realized was wrong. By not following legislations of the land Antigone also proven that women can handle making their own decisions. First of all, she opposes the king's legislation by burying her sibling. "And Fatality is a god / who wants his laws obeyed" (Sophocles 634-635). She assumed that the regulations of the gods are usually more important than that of the king which explains why she offered her brother an effective burial. Second, Antigone will not deny once that she actually is the main one who buried her brother when caught. This is proven by the Sentry who explains to Kreon, "We accuse of her doing it before which time, both, / and she didn't deny a thing (530-531). Her perseverance is shown when she allows the results of her actions with take great pride in. When encountered against Kreon she says, "I did so it. I deny nothing at all" (541). Not even trying to cover up anything she openly allows Kreon know that it was her who was accountable for breaking his rules. Antigone's actions characterize her as you who is courageous, inclined and capable of taking a stand to men. Unlike her sister Ismene she refuses to give in to the role of a female who's helpless, weak-willed and submissive.

The ideal of women being stored under rigid control and secluded if possible could only be practised effectively among those who have been wealthy (Blundell 73). If there have been no wells in the courtyard of homes no slave-girl to obtain the water, women could have was required to go the general public fountains regularly themselves (73). Even though lots of male freelance writers do not talk about the friendships between females it is for certain that they existed (73). Additionally it is known that women went to each other's houses for burrowing salt (73). They also went to each other's homes to aid women when they were in labour, or for the party of a fresh born baby (73). "Even upper-class women would have been expected to appear in public when these were performing religious duties or attending marriages or funerals" (73). This implies that the thought of women being placed inside the home and under strict control was just a perfect and not truth. As mentioned earlier even though the husband does the shopping, this did not stop a few of the ladies from "running stalls in the market-place providing flowers, vegetables or bread (74). Under such circumstances it is rather hard to say that Athenian women were segregated, deprived of all political protection under the law and kept under rigid control when they are on trips reselling items. This further demonstrates that in reality some women loved more independence than what some thought.

In conclusion, the perfect of women being weak and inferior compared to men was portrayed though Ismene. Her weakness and sense of inferiority is shown throughout Sophocles' Antigone but most notably in the beginning when Antigone requests her assist in burying their sibling. She refuses and shows how poor she feels women are in comparison to men when she says they are really just subjects and Kreon is ruler. The fact that men were the superior ones and women were deprived of all political privileges and placed under tight control can be proven through Kreon the ruler of Thebes. Women were excluded from participating in politics affairs of any form (Cantarella 51). Kreon unveils the strict control under which women were kept when he explains to the guards to take both Ismene and Antigone and lock them away inside in order that they will become women and not stray around (Sophocles 715-716). Antigone on the other side proved that women had more independence than given credit for when she decides to go against Kreon and do what she felt was right by burying her brother. She demonstrates women are strong and with the capacity of making their own decisions. Also, even though women were said to be segregated there are a variety of incidences which proved that that basically was not the situation for all women.

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