Essay, Research Paper: Antigone Ismene And Haimon

Literature: Sophocles

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Antigone, the character, is a tragic hero because we care about her. Ismene and
Haimon help us care about Antigone by making her feel worthy of loving. And with
out this her plan to bury her brother seems irrelevant to the reader because we
can care less about her. Ismene, although weak and timid, is in the story to
illustrate that Antigone is capable of being loved. "We are only women, We
cannot fight with men, Antigone" (Sophocles 881). Another reason Ismene is
incorporated to Antigone is to show exactly strong-willed Antigone is. Haimon is
there to show that Antigone has a life and a future outside her purpose. What
else Haimon brings to the story is he makes Creon look like a fool, but more
importantly he validates Antigones cause. So without Antigone having to live for
she would have nothing to lose, therefore, her death would not be tragic. The
prologue juxtaposes the differences in character between Antigone and Ismene.
Ismene works of what is sensible, while Antigone uses more emotion. "Antigone:
He is my brother. And he is your brother, too. (Talking about burying Polyneices).
Ismene: But think of the danger! Think what Creon will do" (Sophocles 881).
In this part of the play we really see how strong Antigone is by witnessing just
how feeble Ismene is. "Another example of this is when Antigone is talking
to Ismene saying she is going to bury Polyneices no matter what. Ismene replies
that you can't. Antigone then says well I will until my strength gives out"
(Sophocles 882). Not only is Ismene weak but it she is also a law a biding
citizen. In scene two Ismene shows the viewers that she is still weak, but also
that Antigone is a hero because heroes must be loved. And this is where we find
that at least one person does. "But how could I go on living without
her" (Sophocles 892)? Here the viewer also finds out that Ismene has good
intention toward her sister, its just hard for her to show them. Likewise in the
beginning of scene three Haimon will not do anything to hurt his father Creon.
"I am your son, father. You are my guide. You make things clear for me, and
I obey you" (Sophocles 893). This quickly changes though. Haimon now is fed
up with all the bad talk about Antigone and is also in a way speaking for the
people. "…I have heard them Muttering and whispering in the dark about
this girl. They say no woman has ever, so unreasonably, died so shameful a death
for a generous act…" (Sophocles 894). He also near the end of the scene
stands up against his father's will. This is all-important because first, it
shows that not everyone is against Antigone and second, shows he loves her and
that a future with her is not out of the question. Antigone's death now would be
even more tragic to the reader/viewer. All these examples of how Ismene and
Haimon contribute to the impact of the play are all very necessary to show that
Antigone is a hero. And because of the viewer now sees Antigone as a hero her
death is now tragic. Ismene and Haimon almost make Antigone come to life. I mean
that because we see that she can be loved and love the viewer now realizes that
she is not just a feminist but she has a noble cause and is worth dying for.
Ismene and Haimon Essay VI Mike Lear Eng. II 1320.8 Parkin-Speer Thesis: Ismene
and Haimon help us care about Antigone by making her feel worthy of loving. I.
Introduction to characters A. Ismene 1. Weak 2. Good intentions B. Haimon 1.
Shows there is a future for Antigone II. Scene II A. Ismene 1. Love for sis. 2.
Wants to do right III. Scene III A. Haimon 1. Conflict with father 2. Future for
Antigone 3. Stands up for Antigone a. Speaks for people IV. Conclusion A.
Antigone hero because… 1. Haimon and Ismene B. Death tragic 1. Human now

Sophocles. "Antigone." Literature Across Cultures. 2nd ed. Eds.
Sheena Gillespie, Trezinha, Carol A. Sanger. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1998.
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