Study Guide

Antigone Antigone

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This rebel girl is totally one of the most well known tragic heroines of all time. Some call her determined. Some call her downright stubborn. But everybody agrees that when Antigone sets her mind on something she's going to see it through to the bitter end. And for Antigone, the end is always bitter.

The first thing we notice about Antigone is her fierce loyalty to her family. She shows this by guiding Oedipus, her blind father/brother, for years around the countryside until he finally meets his death. Later on, she meets her own death because she refuses to allow the body of her brother, Polyneices, to go unburied, despite Creon's decree. No doubt, being loyal to your family is generally a good thing, but just to ask the question... Is Antigone's loyalty a wee bit extreme? After all it does make her life miserable and eventually takes her life away. What do you think?

Another important thing to note is that Antigone's rebelliousness is particularly uncharacteristic for the women of her time. In the male-dominated society that Antigone lives in, women are expected to do whatever the dudes in their lives tell them to do. So, by going against Creon's decree, she's not only breaking his specific law, she's also breaking a larger social code. For this reason, the character of Antigone is still seen to this day as a symbol of girl power.

Click here for Shmoop's exclusive file on the heroine. Also, you've got to check our coverage of Antigone by Sophocles. Click here and be amazed.

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