Most contemporary political theorists who have interpreted Sophocles' Antigone have focused on the fearsome clash between Antigone and Creon. The relationship between Antigone and her weaker, more cautious sister Ismene has not garnered similar attention. This essay addresses this gap by revisiting the tantalizing possibility that Ismene played a more significant role in resisting Creon than has often been assumed. The essay shifts the analysis of Antigone, first, by illuminating the complex and fraught relationship between two women and emphasizing the political and legal challenges that they face together as women. Second, the essay shifts focus from vertical power relations-that is, between the individual and government-to horizontal power relations between disempowered outsiders. On this reading, Antigone reveals less about the downfall of a character than it does about the political power of the weak and disadvantaged.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations