Reading Antigone, a play written by Sophocles, really made me admire Antigone’s courage and fearlessness in the face of adversity. While first reading the book, I did originally dismiss Ismene, finding her to be cowardice and weak, but as I read more into the play, I quickly realized how apparent the inequality between men and women actually was. I took for granted the improvement of gender equality in the present time, assuming and relating my own experiences back to the play. The lack of equality is made obvious by Creon, “Therefore we must defend the men who live by law, 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.” (pg.94) These lines reveal Creon’s blatant sexism and his complete denial of women’s right to equality under his law. Creon frequent and casual misogyny, the constantly degradation of women in the play, lead me to see the social conditioning women in the play went through daily.
This new understanding made me grasp Ismene’s decision making and thoughts, her fear of defying Creon and her decision to stand back and Antigone.
Personally, Oedipus, a play written by Sophocles, is an intriguing read. What originally stuck out and caught my attention was a psychological concept named after the play. The Oedipus complex is a Freudian term describing a child’s desire for their opposite-sex parent and jealously and hatred towards their same-sex parent. Although the complex has very little evidence to support its theory and is likely to be made up, throughout reading Oedipus, it unsettled me. The idea of something that happened to Oedipus, him killing his father and falling in love with his mother, or something as traumatizing and as unnerving happening to me triggered the recollection of many childhood and current memories, desperate in trying not to find any similarities between the two storylines. The idea itself disgusted and repulsed me, but towards the end of the play, it really made me empathize with Oedipus. It allowed me to connect and understand Oedipus and his choices on a deeper level, as well as evoke a sense of sympathy from me towards his unfortunate fate.
This new revelation made me reflect on my attitudes first reading the play and it can be said that I did have an arrogant and self-centered view, criticizing, looking down upon and belittling Oedipus’ choices and decisions, only really empathizing with Oedipus when imagining the same scenario happening to myself.
Reading this passage made me relate back to my own experience with insecurity. It began when I was around twelve, the toxic world of social media sank its claws into me and refused to relent, dragging me deeper and deeper into its unescapable void. It was then that I quickly realised that other girls who were gaining traction all had something in common, something that I did not have. A small seed planted inside my head started feeding on little moments of vulnerability. The tiny seed tucked away in the back of my head started growing, its roots forcing their way into every thought and moment, thriving on the feelings of shame and embarrassment. Only finding joy in my apparent downfall. So blinded by my own self-deprecating thoughts, I was subjecting myself to an altered reality. Feelings of insecurity and self-consciousness constantly itch the back of my mind, desperate in finding moments to make themselves known. It took me a long time to break away from the harmful cycle, finding confidence in my own self. Every now and then the remnants fight to surface, but with enough self-reassurance, they stay buried down. Having talked to many other teenage girls, I believe that my experiences with insecurity is shared among many. The current beauty standard being pushed onto young girls is extremely harmful for one’s self-image, promoting unattainable standards and unrealistic expectations.