Why is Ismene important in the play Antigone?

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Ismene is incredibly important to the play. For one thing, she acts as a foil to Antigone. In literary terms, a foil is someone who provides a contrast with another character, usually the protagonist, in order to highlight particular qualities of that character. In this case, the protagonist is, of course, Ismene's sister, Antigone.

Ismene, unlike her sister, is not a dynamic character; she remains the same throughout the entirety of the play. She doesn't make things happen—things happen to her. Nevertheless, she still has an important role to play, and not just as a foil to Antigone. Ismene, no less than Creon , represents the forces of human law and convention. Antigone, by contrast, is openly prepared to defy Creon and all that he represents, in order to do what's right by all that's just and holy. Furthermore, in defying Creon, Antigone is also displaying her contempt for Ismene for her unthinking submission to Creon's will, a mere earthly power. After all, Polynices was Ismene's...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 566 words.)

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