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The previous post was really strong. I would like to expand on the gender conflict identified. I think that Sophocles' drama brings to light the struggle of women to assert their own sense of self in the political realm. We can take this into a worldwide setting. We have become more aware of places in the world where it is a struggle for women to assert themselves politically, or assert their own sense of identity in a strictly stratified social order where women's roles are defined. The struggles for acknowledgment of this voice is something that finds women struggling throughout the world. There are many situations where women are forced to be silent on a political level, similar to what Creon and the social order sought to do to Antigone. At the same time, we see in these battles the struggle between the Antigones and the Ismenes, the collision between voices that seek to change conditions in the Status Quo and those that seek to replicate them.
Sophocles' Antigone focuses on the following choices:
1. Civil law vs. personal morality. Antigone chose to obey her own convictions by burying her brother, even though it was against the law of the land. Antigone saw breaking the law as not a sin.
2. Family obedience vs. betrayal. Antigone disobeys her uncle, her sister, and her boyfriend's influence on her decision-making. Antigone felt that family allegiance limited her freedom and choice.
3. Tradition: revenge and burial rites. Creon sought to take revenge (a very male tradition) on his nephew, even after death. Antigone, on the hand, followed the (female) tradition that everyone should be buried.
4. Gender differences. Creon acts very "male" in the play. Ismene acts very "female." Antigone is caught in the middle. She carries out her duty in burying her brother, but is exiled to death much like a male soldier.
So, pick a combination of themes that apply to you. Certainly, you've had to choose between following what you thought was right versus what your culture, family, tradition, or opposite gender thought was right.
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