In the play Antigone the title is also our main character, and she is a force in her period for a young woman. In an era where women are not viewed as being important for anything other than producing male heirs, Antigone is a woman who is going to stand up and be heard even if she has to pay with her life.
Antigone is a rebel, and she stands up for what she believes is right even if it means she must go against her family. When her Uncle decides that one of her brothers will not be given a proper burial because he killed the other brother and that if anyone attempts to bury him, he will have them executed Antigone sees this as something that is going against what the gods would want. She in her heart believes that seeing as both of her brothers were the king that they both should get a proper burial, “He is still my brother; yes and thine, though thou, it seems, wouldst fain he were not. I desert him not” (Sophocles Line 52-54). Family means a lot to Antigone and she feels she is letting down her brother if she does what Creon says.
Antigone was a woman she has an opinion, and she had the ability to speak her mind in a time when women were more about staying quiet and letting the men in their lives make the decisions. “What right has he to keep me from mine own” (Sophocles Line 56). Creon is not only Antigone’s Uncle he is now the acting King seeing as the two brothers are dead. Going against Creon is now more than going against family it is going against the government. In Antigone’s mind Creon has no right as her Uncle or even as King to tell her what she can do with her brother.
She is loyal to her family at least she is so to her brothers in that she believes that they are both deserving of a burial no matter the circumstances surrounding the death of either one of them. Yes they fought, and both of them are now dead, but being that they were sharing the crown, and the fight was between brothers and not an act of treason that should be taken into account. Antigone is using her head to realize that what her Uncle is saying is not the right way to do things and that things are more than just black or white there are some gray areas as well.
A modern-day Antigone could be seen in Malala Yousafzai a young girl who stood up to men who were more powerful than her in their position but who will not silence the voice of a young girl who believes in something bigger and better than what she has. Malala believes that everyone even girls should have the ability to be educated she sees it as a right for everyone to be able to read, to write and to think. Her government did not see things the same way and went out of their way to silence her much like Antigone’s Uncle/King tried to silence her.
Malala is strong and outspoken just as Antigone was she cannot see the problem with young girls getting an education just as young boys do. While her government looks at women much like the government in Antigone’s time did she like Antigone could see that there was room for change and that there is a benefit to it in the end. Malala and Antigone both see change as a good thing, not something that will bring about bad. For both of these young women, the fight is a personal one that they feel strongly about and that they are not going to back down.
One big difference in the two women is that Antigone did die for going against her Uncle/King while Malala even with all that she had to go through after being shot did pull through and continued to speak about her cause and to be a voice for young women everywhere who are unable to get an education because of men who believe that to educate women is a waste of time.
Antigone and Malala also have a difference in their families and how the families feel about them. Antigone is fighting against the words of her Uncle, who is the only family that she has left. He is against what she is doing, and he is also the reason that she is dead. Malala had and still has the support of her family both her mother and father agree with her fight, and they stand beside her in her continued support of women getting an education. This support strengthens Malala’s cause because she if not fighting against the people who are supposed to stand by her no matter what. Family means a lot to her and knowing that they have her back gives her fight more power.
Both Antigone and Malala are strong women who fight for their cause because they know that eventually change is going to happen, and people will begin to look at things differently. Antigone, even as a fictional character was a woman who was well ahead of her time in that she was a feminist long before that concept was ever mentioned. Malala is fighting in a time where many women already have the freedom of education that she so desperately wants so in her case she has the voices of thousands of women all across the globe fighting with her to make sure that no woman is denied the ability to learn.
- Sophocles. Antigone. New York: P.F. Collier and Son. 2001. Print.