Antigone Feminism Essay

Subject: 📚 Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 842
Topics: Antigone, Feminism, 📗 Book
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It is impossible to pinpoint who became the first feminist in history and when feminist movements developed, but most of these movements can be clearly observed within the last two centuries. Nevertheless, there were feminist women who revealed their beliefs about this issue, and they can be followed earlier than two centuries ago. Antigone, the protagonist of Sophocles’ play, literally behaves like a feminist, defying the power that existed in the patriarchal structure of her day. She undoubtedly fits the description of a contemporary feminist; while modern feminists may be despised by men and considered violent and ferocious, in the primary sense feminism merely means standing up for women’s rights.

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The character of Antigone as a challenge to the patriarchal system

In Greek literature, women were portrayed as very indulgent and compassionate, unencumbered by the harshness of war, religion and politics. But this description does not fit Antigone, which is proved by the fact that she defied Creon’s irrational and foolish orders and continued to perform the burial rites of her deceased brother Polynices. This was in line with her stubborn conviction that God was in her corner. At this point, Antigone is not just respected for being bold enough to give her brother such a dignified burial, but also for being a woman of genuine character. She performed an important part in political and religious matters, like a contemporary feminist, and had an outstanding individualism in expressing her position against oppression and other abuses.

Manifestation of Antigone’s feminist position

Antigone stands up to her uncle Creon, who was the governor of the day and has no qualms about harshly challenging his misconduct concerning the inappropriate treatment of women in a male-dominated society. She stands for equality between both sexes, and for equal attitude towards women in issues connected with God and religion. Antigone is represented as challenging Creon with feminist thinking during the entire play, which suggests that she does not place much importance on his credibility. The Chorus in the play states: “we respect what you did for your brother / But there’s no question that the orders of those in authority must be obeyed”. Antigone states: “What Creon says is quite irrelevant”, and nearly refers to him as a moron a few times. The play shows explicitly that Antigone does not recognize Creon’s power as ruler, and her language conveys a hint of her wish to dethrone him. Readers can derive a deeper sense from her statements on this matter that she intends to get ready for a fight against him, displaying all the necessary fortitude and bravery.

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The true intentions of Antigone

Antigone is moreover revealed as a clever woman with high-minded desires who stands up to authority by initiating her brother’s burial as a sign of veneration for the deceased, which would ordinarily not have been honored by other women at the time. Antigone has faith in God’s laws, which prompted her to bury her brother in order to accomplish two objectives simultaneously: to obtain prominence among the departed and to obtain unconditional obedience to God’s teachings. There is an apparent conviction that Antigone, by putting forth such struggles, was defying Creon’s apparent dominance, as a genuine feminist would, or she may have had an innate ambition to take the stage. Antigone shows her feminist stance by intentionally trying to gain favor with the people, as this is a critical quality needed for a human being who seeks to glorify the idea of equal rights for both sexes. However, when she finds herself vulnerable, she abandons all her attempts to stand up for what she was committed to and pleads for people’s sincere compassion. This can be typically perceived in the manner in which she sought to induce tears by delivering a maudlin statement before being led away to her execution.

Antigone’s incredible determination and strong will

Another efficient manner in which Antigone showcased her feminist traits was her solid determination, which was highly acclaimed by Creon, who admitted it on numerous instances, but he was adamantly opposed to her and frequently questioned the kind of feminist stances she held. It was rumored that she was strikingly similar to her father Oedipus in her feminist attitude and obstinacy, and this was the reason for her personal downfall. These are the fundamental reasons why her feminist qualities and mighty will are typically manifested. Antigone is definitely an attractive person in Sophocles’ Antigone in the sense that she expresses feminist opinions through her behavior in wisely resolving cases, whether it is to take her own life elegantly, to be angry with Creon, or to show godliness.


In summary, Sophocles’ Antigone leaves a mark on the heart of every reader, and reveals some very atypical themes of the time. Among them are the author’s pronounced feminist beliefs and their embodiment in the beautiful heroine Antigone. Throughout the play, the woman literally expresses her feminist views, convincingly demonstrating her strong will in various ways. These distinctive features of Antigone make her a feminist who was centuries ahead of her time.

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