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Feminism in Antigone

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Ben Johnson

on 22 November 2013

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Transcript of Feminism in Antigone

The role of women had changed drastically over time. Antigone is a prime example of this because she does not follow the footsteps of the women before her. She pulls herself up from the abyss of the normal women of the time. She defines herself not by her gender But by her actions and words.
Feminism in Antigone
Antigone Quote Dissection
Quotes from Creon
"Out with it!"
- Creon
"But I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy; I shall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as he to me."
Relation to Feminism
The Play "Antigone" was written by Sophocles. But what would it of been like if it was written by a female author?
This quote is one of the first representations of feminism in the play. It may not directly advocate to the feminist viewpoint, but it does have a woman standing up against a man for what she believes in. This was unheard of until now.

Well, let her know the stubbornest of wills
Are soonest bended, as the hardest iron,
O'er-heated in the fire to brittleness,
Flies soonest into fragments, shivered through.
A snaffle curbs the fieriest steed, and he
Who in subjection lives must needs be meek.
But this proud girl, in insolence well-schooled,
First overstepped the established law, and then--
A second and worse act of insolence--
She boasts and glories in her wickedness.
Now if she thus can flout authority
Unpunished, I am woman, she the man.
But though she be my sister's child or nearer
Of kin than all who worship at my hearth,
Nor she nor yet her sister shall escape
The utmost penalty, for both I hold,
As arch-conspirators, of equal guilt.
Bring forth the older; even now I saw her
Within the palace, frenzied and distraught.
The workings of the mind discover oft
Dark deeds in darkness schemed, before the act.
More hateful still the miscreant who seeks
When caught, to make a virtue of a crime.

We do not think from a feminist view that they would be this pushy and that they would give them time to think.
The quote might be more like "give it time"
Even though this quote already represents a bit of feminism we think a feminist author would have written it differently, maybe like this.
Feminist viewpoint
"But I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy; I shall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as he to me, no matter what Creon may say, he is my brother and who is he to decide his fate when he is dead."
This may relate more to the feminist viewpoint because she is directly defying Creon's wishes and standing up for herself and her brother.
In this section we are going to dissect some quotes from Antigone and relate them to feminism and then rewrite them how a feminist author may have written them.
Feminist Author
We think that if a feminist author had written this play and not Sophocles, there would be more women standing up against men and advocating for their rights as women
Although this article is long we could not help putting it into this, because it contains perfect examples of an anti feminist viewpoint that would of been extremely common in this time period.
"Now if she thus can flout authority
Unpunished, I am woman, she the man."
Original quote from previous line
This quote shows how Creon believes men are superior beings. He does this by comparing them against one another in the sense that if he lets Antigone continue doing this evil deed that he would be no better than a woman, and that Antigone would of proven herself against Creon and it would only get worse.
Meaning of quote in relation with feminism
Quote rewritten with the feminist lens
There is many ways to put this into the feminist perspective, including just interchanging the words woman and man with each other. Another way to do put it in this viewpoint would be to rewrite the quote like this.
"Now if she thus can flout authority she must be punished, as any person would for going against the crown."
Quote # 2
"Well, let her know the stubbornest of wills are soonest bended, as the hardest iron, O'er heated in the fire to brittleness, Flies soonest in fragments shivered through."
Meaning of quote
We think this quote Is trying to say that you must be able to bend in order not to break. Like trees do in a storm. We think that Creon is trying to convey to us that women surely cannot have enough experience in the world to know this so he thinks she will break before anything else happens, because she does not know a thing about what she is doing.
Rewriting the quote
"Well, She must know the phrase the stubbornest of wills are soonest bended, as the hardest iron, O'er heated in the fire to brittleness, Flies soonest in fragments shivered through. I expect her to ease up on he struggle because of this so now is the time to put her little flame of hope out."
We think a feminist writer would of written it like this because it represents women as civilized and educated members of society.
Why is Antigone so fearless?
Basically something terrible will happen to Antigone either way. She will die, or she will have to live knowing that she doomed her brother to an eternal after-life of pain and suffering. She also believes that she must strictly follow the gods laws and rules.
Feminism is basically the avocation and advertisement of women's rights
Modern day feminism
According to Wikipedia feminism is still a big issue in today's society, even though it may not seem like it women get treated completely different from men. In a lot of cases they get paid less, do not get as good of deals, are not able to get certain agreements without a male counterpart present, and have less reproductive rights, including abortion.
Proving thesis
Antigone does this by putting her ideas out there, she does this by not just sitting still like many of the women of the time and she actually does something. She actually goes directly against a mans will and attempts to bury her brother. This gets her into trouble, but in doing this she sets herself apart from the women of the time and actually does something that defines her as a person and not just a woman.
"No woman shall seduce us. If we must lose, Lets lose to a man, at least! Is a woman stronger than we?
Meaning of Quote
In this quote I think Creon is showing how disgraceful it is to lost to a woman in this time and showing how to lose to a woman would be unforgivable, and he would do anything if only not to lose to a woman. This is a direct comparison by Creon of the two genders and clearly in Creon's eyes men are far superior.
Thanks for Listening to Our Presentation
This quote has so much anti feminism that I don't think it would be possible to effectively rewrite this in a feminist viewpoint. It would be better just to make another completely different sentence.
Another sentence like this that includes feminism could be this.
"No one can knock us off this course of victory, but if we must be let it be a worthy opponent at least! Not a person who had just gotten a bit lucky. For in the long run are they actually better than us?"
By: Calvin Rippberger, Ben Johnson, Mitch Jablonsky, Austen Luetmer, & Howie Ramsey
Modern day feminism cont...
As you can see some of Antigone's struggles are still around today. Even the most sexist things from back then are still lingering around. These things should of been dismissed a hundred years ago, but are still here and this shows us just how far society has really came since then. (not that far)

The play Antigone is a great representation of anti
feminism because women in that time period were
looked down upon. So in the play it reflected what
society thought of women. But in the play they also showed women standing up for what they believed in.

Do you think that this play might of set off a lot of feminist movements. With women questioning their position in society? And maybe even revolting for women's rights?
I think that women's place in society and women's rights were just a time bomb ready to go off, and I think that this could of easily set it off. A women seeing this might think that she could be like Antigone and stand up against men, this might of given women the courage to stand up and revolt.
Connection to Life Today
Antigone and Malala Yousafzai have very similar qualities. Antigone is basically willing to die for what she believes in. Malala tried to receive a proper education, which is not common at all in Pakistan. Malala has had multiple assassination attempts executed on her. Malala was shot in the head, because she stood up to Pakistan. The men in Pakistan view women the same way that the men did in Antigone. They think women are inferior, and they also are actually afraid of them. They are afraid that they could take control.
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