Provide lines from Antigone demonstrating the extent to which men will go to diminish women's role in society.

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There are many examples throughout Antigone of men’s claimed superiority over women, and of the lengths to which they will go to maintain that superiority, even when no such superiority truly exists.

When Antigone is brought before her uncle Creon, king of Thebes, to answer for disobeying his edict and attempting to bury her brother, Polyneices, Antigone admits to the charge. Antigone contends that, according to the will of the gods, she is right in doing so. Creon demeans her and mockingly changes roles with her.

CREON: 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.

When Antigone argues for love, not hatred of her brother, Creon curses her while he attempts to impose his authority and superiority over her.

CREON: Die then, and love the dead if thou must;

No woman shall be the master while I live.

Later, in Creon’s advice to his son, Haemon—who’s in love with Antigone, and who attempts to convince his father of his shortsightedness—Creon again mocks Antigone, while at the same time condemning all women by comparing them to Anarchy, otherwise known as Eris, the Greek goddess of conflict and discord.

CREON: Son, be warned

And let no woman fool away thy wits.

Ill fares the husband mated with a shrew,

And her embraces very soon wax cold.

For what can wound so surely to the quick

As a false friend? So spue and cast her off,

Bid her go find a husband with the dead. ...
but Anarchy—

What evils are not wrought by Anarchy!

She ruins States, and overthrows the home,

She dissipates and routs the embattled host;

While discipline preserves the ordered ranks.

Therefore we must maintain authority

And yield no title to a woman's will.

Better, if needs be, men should cast us out

Than hear it said, a woman proved his match.

In response to an admonition from Tiresias, the blind prophet, Creon repents his arrogance, but not before Haemon kills himself over his love for Antigone, and Creon’s wife, Queen Eurydice, kills herself when she hears about Haemon’s death.

SECOND MESSENGER: Hearing the loud lament above her son

With her own hand she stabbed herself to the heart.

Creon’s pride and his belief in his superiority to women—particularly to Antigone—proved to be his tragic downfall.

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Throughout Antigone, what literary devices has Sophocles used to demonstrate the extent to which men will go to diminish women's role in society?

Irony is a major literary device used in Antigone to examine the way women are diminished in society. In this case, irony refers to the contrast between what is expected to happen and what actually does happen. In Antigone , the irony comes from the notion that women hold no moral or political power while men do in Greek society. While Antigone is warned of her powerlessness by other characters, she wields moral authority in her refusal to leave her...

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brothers unburied. Creon accuses Antigone of being too womanly in her reaction—that is, overemotional and irrational—when ironically, he is the one who is behaving irrationally in his insistence on defying the gods and demonizing a woman motivated by both religious duty and familial love.

Ismene's role as Antigone's foil is also significant in the play's exploration of gender. A foil is a character whose traits are the opposite of another character. This is usually done to emphasize particular characteristics. Ismene and Antigone are a classic pair of foils.

Ismene is the ideal Greek woman in that she is obedient. She does not question Creon's law, even though it is unjust, in part because she sees it as wrong for women to defy or criticize the will of men:

Nay, we must remember, first, that we were born women, as who should not strive with men; next, that we are ruled of the stronger, so that we must obey in these things, and in things yet sorer. I, therefore, asking the Spirits Infernal to pardon, seeing that force is put on me herein, will hearken to our rulers. for 'tis witless to be over busy.

Ismene is someone who wholly believes in society's claims about women. Her attitude is the opposite of Antigone's, which is characterized by integrity and rebellion. Antigone accuses Ismene of favoring human law over divine law in refusing to give her brothers a proper burial, subtly suggesting her claims about women having to obey men in all things are wrong.

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How does Antigone by Sophocles demonstrate the extent to which men will go to diminish women’s role in society?

Sophocles's Antigone demonstrates men's efforts to diminish women’s role in society by highlighting the complex gender relations within classical Athens. The main conflict within the play is between Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, and Antigone's uncle Creon, who is now king of Thebes. Antigone defies Creon's edict by ritually burying her brother, thus asserting her independence and outwardly condemning Creon's decision as immoral. Unlike other classical heroines, including Medea in Euripides's Medea and Clytemnestra in Aeschylus's Agamemnon, Antigone is depicted as both defying the patriarchy and having the moral high ground.

In this way, Creon's reaction to Antigone's disobedience is presented by Sophocles as gratuitous and unjustifiable given the fact that Antigone was following the laws of the gods. Another example of the extent to which Creon seeks to diminish women's role in society is his intentional deception of his wife, Eurydice. Because Creon refuses to involve his wife in the events of the play as they unfold, Eurydice learns all—including the news of her son's suicide —from a messenger. Thrown into inconsolable grief, she consequently kills herself while cursing Creon.

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