In her relationship with Ismene, does Antigone reveal qualities that are not admirable?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Antigone is not the best of sisters.  I think that comes out fairly quickly.  Once Antigone becomes fixated on honoring her brother, who is Ismene's brother as well, everything else becomes secondary, including the bond between she and her sister.  Ismene might not possess the head- strong will as Antigone, but she is not a bad sister.  She pleads to Creon to pardon Antigone, and even pleads with Antigone not to pursue this.  She even wishes to share the punishment with Antigone.  She does all of this to save her sister's life.  Yet, Antigone treats Ismene with scorn or, at best, indifference.  Ismene represents the traditional notion of women who feel that they were second class citizens.  However, Antigone, ironically, repeats the same silencing of voices that Greek society does when she refuses to acknowledge the acts of Ismene.  Interestingly enough, the feminist discards the voice of the traditional woman, repeating the cycle of negation that the feminist swears against in the first place.  It might be a stroke of genius on the part of Sophocles to display a trend that becomes apparent in many freedom fighters.  The pursuit of the "cause" and the reason for their fight is one that precludes emotional attachments from forming.  This might be the reason why the individuals who were so driven to fight for a social or political cause ended up possessing fractured relationships in the realm of the personal.  Antigone's relationship with her sister reflects this dichotomy.

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