Essay about Matriarchial vs. Patriarchial Values in Antigone

1189 Words 5 Pages
Matriarchial vs. Patriarchial Values in Antigone

In Sophocles’s Antigone, Antigone and Creon represent opposing sets of values. Antigone stands for the matriarchal beliefs while Creon stands for the patriarchal beliefs. Antigone’s beliefs are founded upon the sanctity of kinship and the ritual association with the gods of the earth. She places these values of universal humanity above the laws of man and loyalty to the state. Creon, on the other hand, stands for the loyalty to the city and its laws over the loyalty to kinship. He associates loyalty to the state with the unquestioning obedience to the king. Also, he is skeptical of the gods to the point of impiety. In the earlier scenes of the play, Antigone’s reverence to family
…show more content…
Creon accuses Antigone of being disloyal to the city and asks her if she is ashamed. She replies, “Not ashamed for a moment, not to honor my brother, my own flesh and blood” (1281). Antigone does not regard her dedication to family as disloyal or shameful. Antigone places reverence to family above the law, Creon’s decree. Even aware of the consequences, death, Antigone buries her brother and faces her execution in glory. Closely associated with devotion to kinship in this play is worship of the gods of the earth and their laws and traditions, which Antigone clearly represents. Antigone feels that burying Polynices is what the gods of the earth demand in accordance with their rituals. Her devotion to appeasing the gods is evident when she says to Ismene, “I have longer to please the dead than please the living here: in the kingdom down below I’ll lie forever” (1269). She lives in this world for only a short time but she will live in the underworld for eternity therefore, her devotion is better placed to the gods. According to the rituals of the gods, all corpses should be buried. This is apparent when Antigone tells Ismene that their brother’s unburied corpse is “an outrage sacred to the gods” (1269). When she asks her sister to help bury their brother Ismene refuses. Antigone perceives Ismene’s refusal to help as dishonoring “the laws the gods hold in

Related Documents