In Antigone, Sophocles brought out the problem of immense inequality among men and women. Creon forbids anyone to bury Antigone’s brother Polynices in the play, but she goes against Creon’s wishes and does it anyway.
We know from the play that women in ancient Greece were not considered people and were often looked down upon by men. We can identify this by seeing Creon regularly degrading women in the play. “Never let some woman triumph over us. Better to fall from power; if we fall, we must, at the hands of a man – never be rated inferior to a woman, never.” (P.94). Another piece of evidence is that when Creon knew about the news of someone having buried Polynices, he immediately assumed the one who did it was a man “If you don’t find the man who buried that corpse, the very man…” (P.74).
Even with all the social conditioning, Antigone still manages to go against her society’s cultural beliefs by burying Polynices; how did Antigone become so bold? Besides that, with Ismene’s reaction, we know that women fell into this negative stereotype, and if anything happens, they will stay silent, “I’d do them no dishonour… but defy the city? I have no strength for that.” (P.63). The majority of the time Ismene did not want to go against men; however, she ended up being on Antigone’s side and stood up for herself. “I did it, yes if only she consents – I share the quit, the consequence too.” (P.86). Therefore, we can see that women agreed with Antigone, but most did not have the courage.
As evident in the play, Antigone is a brave woman who is willing to stand up against men even with the social condition in ancient Greece. An example of this happening in a real-life situation is Emily Murphy in The Persons Case. In the 1920s, Emily Murphy successfully persuaded the judges that women should be considered people under the British North America Act.
In conclusion, the conflict between men and women best describes Antigone. The play displays how women were always looked down upon by men, showing that Antigone dares to go against the social norms and raise the question if the society we live in has the same problem to readers.