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Modern Feminism vs Antigone Feminism

The word “feminism” was 1st officially coined by French socialist Charles Fourier to be employed to describe equal rights and social standing for women in the 1890’s. All through time, the meaning has changed, but the underlying principles have remained the exact same. Even prior to the coinage and common usage of the word, feminist movements and works have emerged in diverse societies all throughout the planet. There is no official “feminist” honor presented to any 1 issue to make it a genuine feminist piece of function, but rather, numerous interpretations dissect these novels, movements, protests, pieces of art, and so on forth, to assert no matter whether they can be considered feminist in nature or not, whether by precursory glance or by evaluation of deeper which means. In Sophocles’ Antigone, the title character herself, although not really a modern day-day feminist by one’s standards now, is an instance of such a rising feminist in early literature before feminist movements and writings became far more common. Becoming the central character in this story offers Antigone a lot more independence than preceding girls characters. Her independence is 1 of the major features which makes her and her story early feminist examples while Antigone does not pass the Bechdel Test, there are numerous other contemporary benchmarks which grant Antigone a proper to getting hailed as a feminist play by means of today’s requirements. Moreover, Antigone has the unique detail—in the context of writing just before female-centric stories have been produced common—of the backing support by a essential male character in the play, Haimon, her betrothed. Antigone functions as a quite early gate to opening up the literary world to stronger women characters, tying with each other a new breakthrough in the planet of early feminism even though also displaying proof of elements of modern day feminist ideals and morals.

A robust character is oftentimes a single who allows other folks to support them in order to develop. Antigone does exactly the opposite, and manages to make positive that, no matter what, she comes out on best in her personal way. A focused and determined particular person who makes her values and objectives identified, both to herself and other people, prior to acting on them, Antigone requests support at the start of the story from her sister Ismene, but continues with her pursuits regardless of not getting it. There is no secret to Antigone’s doings, as she requests that Ismene “tell everyone” about what she is going to do (193). Her priorities are straight and clear, and Antigone stops at nothing at all to get what she wants, no matter how incorrect the activity at hand may well look to other folks. Her drive is fueled by her loyalty and household values, which, whilst not a new motive for literary heroes, is handled differently in this context, as she utilizes her family values against her personal family as properly as in support of them at the exact same time. Defying Creon if only to avenge her brother Polyneices, Antigone risks far more than 1 may well believe she is by “breaking the provided laws and boasting of it”, both due to the fact she is going about her actions alone, and since she is a lady (209). Her apparent fearlessness of her punishment at the relentless hands of Creon is evident as she independently goes about her task and pettily dismisses Creon, the king and her uncle, by any indicates essential makes her a formidable force on her personal. She understands that her punishment is her personal and has been prepared from the begin to bear her burden alone throughout the whole journey. No matter if Ismene would have agreed to assist her or not, these had been Antigone’s personal grudges to resolve and wishes to fulfill. By acting solely on her own, Antigone managed to produce a lesser-noticed representation of ladies in this time period of writing.

Whilst Antigone does achieve her aim alone, this fact of the plot does not imply that she did not have men and women supporting her. Haimon, her fiancé, vocally supports her and defends her to his personal father whilst simultaneously attempting to preserve that personal private partnership amongst him and his father. Haimon’s help of Antigone, even though nevertheless somewhat hesitant and not as wholehearted as Antigone was in the matter, shows Haimon’s character coming a extended way from the rather regular male-dominated storyline—instead, Haimon acts as a supporter in Antigone’s story as opposed to the opposite. Although “no marriage implies far more to [him] than [Creon’s] continuing wisdom”, Antigone’s objectives imply nearly as much to him as they do to her (216). He tries his ideal to see each Creon and Antigone’s points of view, and desires to convince his father to “not be unchangeable” and have a more open thoughts as he does (219). A single might argue that a prominent issue in feminism all through the ages was not the lack of assistance from fellow women, but the lack of support from men who saw feminism as a threat to their energy. Haimon does not see anything wrong with there becoming “a woman stronger than [Creon and him]”, but this is specifically what Creon fears (218). Haimon understands what Antigone is attempting to say, with no ever getting talked to her on the topic matter itself, and automatically sees no fault in her logic. His support, although not totally blind and neither unbiased, demonstrates a uncommon understanding on Haimon’s part of Antigone and of what she wants. Although he could have just as effortlessly backed up his father, he risked his father’s wrath and being shunned from the loved ones for taking what Creon believes to be the weak path—following a woman as she wins and Creon loses.

In strong association with literary feminism comes the well-liked device named the Bechdel Test. The Bechdel Test is a pass-or-fail primarily based test which examines if media in literature or film has two ladies speaking to each and every other about one thing other than a man (Garcia). Arguably the most effectively recognized version of a measure of feminism in mass media, it is flawed in the sense that a single quick conversation amongst two girls in a big piece of media does not necessarily imply that the entire film has now been awarded a medal for feminist themes. The Mako Mori test furthers the Bechdel Test, analyzing media to see if the females in the story create their personal narrative arc which does not center around a man’s story or arc (Powers). Antigone and Ismene interact with each other when, but Antigone’s motivation in practically its entirety builds off of the unjust burial of “the brother [she] enjoy[s]” (192). Her drive building off of her feelings toward her brother, coupled with the reality that this was the topic of her exchange with Ismene, has Antigone fail each the modern day feminism Bechdel and Mako Mori tests. A a lot more lesser identified feminism test with comparable criteria nonetheless, the Sphinx Theatre Test, specially designed for theater performances, does manage to label Antigone as a feminist piece of efficiency theater. The Sphinx Test, which tests “how prominently female characters feature in the action, regardless of whether they are proactive or reactive, whether the character avoids stereotype and how the character interacts with other women”, highlights how Antigone differs from older pieces of literature and their portrayal of women, while also linking it to today’s thoughts on what constitutes feminism (Snow). She is surely proactive, generating positive she is in handle of the circumstance at all occasions and at the forefront of what is happening. Antigone also stands out from other widespread stereotypes applied to girls in literature, in which, although her story nevertheless does somewhat center around Polyneices, she makes it clear that what she is setting out to do is also in order to prove one thing to herself. By definition of the Sphinx Test, Antigone is indeed feminist prose.

Antigone ultimately clears a new path for females-centered and -oriented pieces of writing and media in its own time whilst simultaneously anticipating some of the several requirements produced for feminist literature in today’s time period. While the feminist worth of numerous of today’s media is measured on scales utilizing well identified tests such as the Bechdel, Antigone meets some of these requirements via indicates of similarly employed tests. What makes Antigone stand out from other early literature is the support provided to Antigone by Haimon, and the quantity of independence exerted by Antigone throughout the entire play in order to make it well recognized to all how strong her beliefs are and what lengths she is prepared to go to for them. She creates a connection amongst the feminist literature of nowadays and yesterday, both by breaking literary barriers and meeting the typical feminist benchmarks used these days to gauge its portrayal of females. In quick, contemporary day feminism could not be as various from olden concepts of feminism as 1 might believe. Even though there are a lot of clearly distinguishable differences in between the portrayal and commonality of women in media, some powerful values pull via in distinct places and times, upholding the morals and values of what 1 has come to recognize these days as standard feminism.


Garcia, David, Ingmar Weber, and Venkata Rama Kiran Garimella. “Gender Asymmetries in Reality and Fiction: The Bechdel Test of Social Media.” Qatar Computing Study Institute, 25 Mar. 2013. Net. 14 Dec. 2016. <>.

Powers, Kelsey. “The Furiosa Test Created from Female Presence in Mad Max: Fury Road.” Calvin College Chimes. Calvin College Chimes, 09 Nov. 2015. Internet. 14 Dec. 2016. <>.

Snow, Georgia. “Theatre Gets Its Personal Bechdel Test.” The Stage. The Stage Media Company Restricted, 30 Nov. 2015. Net. 14 Dec. 2016. <>.

Sophocles. The Oedipus Cycle. Trans. Dudley Fitts, Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Harcourt Brace & Business, 1977.
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