Antigone Gender Conflict Essay Research Paper In

Antigone: Gender Conflict Essay, Research Paper ?In the play Antigone there are many references that link to the oppression of women. Creon made many convictions insulting

Antigone: Gender Conflict Essay, Research Paper

?In the play Antigone there are many references that link to the

oppression of women. Creon made many convictions insulting

womenkind. His convictions seemed true to a large population of men.

I believe the majority of men, in the ancient Greek times believed in

the undeniable domination of women. The start of the Greeks began

around 2000 B.C. with the Mycenaeans. They inhabited the Greek

peninsula. (Perry 40)

"If we transgress . . . we" (Beatty 61) Ismene claimed it was

an outrageous thought to stand up to a man. Her view of the

inferiority to men came from the many laws restricting the lives of

women. Women lived most of their lives in their homes. They were

allowed on the streets with the company of a man, or for the reason

of a funeral or religious festival. Only the poverty stricken women

were allowed to work outside the home. They were not allowed to own

property. They lived their lives under the control of a male figure.

(Kishlansky 75)

Women in marriage did not gain much pleasure. They married

between the ages of twelve and eighteen. (Kagan 53) The marriage was

arranged by their fathers. Marriages were conducted with these

words, "I give this women for the procreation of legitimate

children…I accept…And I give a certain amount as dowry…I am

content." Clearly the purpose of the women was to bear children.

The role of the husband is vague and seems as though he doesn?t play

much of a role in the household. Contact with other men was not

allowed for the wives, yet for the husband it was common to pursue

adulterous relationships. An Athenian male stated "Hetairai we have

for our pleasure, mistresses for the refreshment of our bodies, but

wives to bear us legitimate children and to look after the house

faithfully." (Spielvogel 75) "Kill your own son?s bride?…Oh, there

are other fields for him to plough." Was Creons answer to Ismene

concerning his son?s marriage to Antigone. (Beatty 69)

Prostitution prospered during these times. There were two

classes of prostitution. There were the slaves run by citizens and

the refined courtesans. (Spielvogel 100) Male prostitutes were

not citizens but foreigners. Female citizens were prostitutes,

yet male prostitutes were not allowed. (Spielvogel 92)

"Take them and keep them within. The proper place for women."

(Beatty 70) In other words women did not have any place in public

life. Their place was in the home raising children and running the

household. It was of great importance for women to give birth to male

children. The son would become the heir of the father. (Spielvogel

100) "Only for this do fathers pray for sons. Obedient, loyal, ready

to strike down" (Beatty 71) Men also believed that a women?s body was

not capable to handle the weather. For this reason they should

remain inside. (Spielvogel 101)

Myths were used to justify the subjection of women. Myths

about the first woman, Pandora, explained the supposed evil nature of

women. In revenge of Prometheus giving fire to man, Zeus sent

Pandora. When they took the gift of Pandora, they brought out evil.

There were different versions of this myth. In a better version

Pandora was curious. She opened a jar unaware she would release evil

into the world. Slightly improving the image of women, yet Pandora

is conclusively responsible for evil. (Kishlansky 54) Creon explained

to his son, "To all one?s enemies. Do not be fooled, my son, By lust

and the wiles of women." (Beatty 70)

It?s evident many men believed they were superior to women.

Creon refused to lose a battle to a woman. "And will never betray

it-least of all for a woman. Better be beaten, if needed, by a man,

Than let a woman get the better of us." (Beatty 71) Whatever the

battle was men did not want to be beat by women. Only men were

allowed to participate and attend the Olympic games. Women were made

separate games to attend. These separate games were dedicated to

Hera, Zeus?s wife. These games were attended by unmarried women.

The women were allowed to compete in footraces on short tracks. They

wore tunics, while the men competed naked. Women who won the races

did not receive the same honors as men. Men received public honors

and a lifetime supply of food, paid for by the public. (Kishlansky


It seemed as though all men did not believe women had rights.

There were some men who did believe women were more than housewives

and bearers of children. Haemon states "Nor wish to be clever enough

to prove you wrong, Though all men might not think the same as you

do." (Beatty 71) In a Euripide tragedy a women described her place in

society. "We women are the most unfortunate creatures. . . child."

(Kishlansky 76) In many other plays the main characters were women.

This may suggest women played a more profound role in society than

portrayed by law.(Kagan 53)

Even some of the wisest men were blinded to the rights of

women. When Socrates was sentenced to death he had sent the women

away. After he swallowed poison many of the male watchers began

crying. "Really my friends, what a way to behave! Why, that was my

main reason for sending away the women, to prevent this sort of

disturbance;" (Spielvogel 96) Creon agreed that women lacked control

of their emotions "Despicable coward! No more will than a woman!"

(Beatty 72)

The women of ancient Greek times suffered many hardships. They

were only considered citizens for the sake of marriage and other

duties to help men. They were considered evil and better off

invisible. There were a few supporters of women. In many plays

women were depicted as strong willed people. This leaves the

likelihood that women were perceived as more than servers. It

astonishes me to see some of these traditional views are still held,

but luckily by a very small population.