What are Creon's views on women and femininity? 

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Creon's view of women were very much grounded in the society in which Sophocles was raised. Ancient Athens was what is sometimes described as a strongly "homosocial" culture, one in which men primarily associated with other men and women with women. In general, men delayed marriage until they were economically established and had completed military serrvice, usually when they were in their thirties. Due to high infant mortality rates, women were married when they became fertile, at the ages of 12 or 13, leading to a large inequality of age in marriage. Women tended to be raised in isolation from men, and most were educated only in household management. What that meant was that few Greek men had any experience of associating with women of their own age other than prostitutes, and generally had a low opinion of the intellects and abilities of women.

Creon was typical in considering women as having a purely subordinate role in the family and the city. He thought them lacking in intelligence, swayed by emotion, and incapable of making independent judgments. Creon, and the original audience of the play, would have considered Ismene the ideal woman, as she has a mild and pliant nature, and Antigone unnatural for her defiance of an older male relative. Creon believes that men should simply give orders to women rather than listen to them and criticizes his own son Haemon for being too easily swayed by Antigone. 

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