Female Protagonists and Masculine Traits: Destructive Tendencies in Antigone and Salome 12th Grade

Author Shannon Alder once said, “Often those that criticise others reveal what he himself lacks.” Essentially what Alder is saying is that the things we find fault with in other people are really the things that we do not have and therefore desire. In their works, Salome and Antigone, authors Oscar Wilde and Sophocles, respectively, use this theory to show how women wield power over men. Both female protagonists in their stories are criticized for their masculine characteristics - forceful lust, strength, and independent thought, among other things. It is these criticisms that result in the men unknowingly giving their power up to the women, as the women embodying certain masculine characteristics threatens the power of their male opponents. However, by attacking their male rivals with the same qualities the males use to attack others, these women become victim to the same fatal flaws that their opponents are victim to, leading to their demise.

In both stories, Antigone and Salome both gain power by exhibiting traditionally masculine characteristics, and wield this power over the men who are threatened by women breaking the gender binary. Antigone has the power of free thought, which is something that is traditionally not a...

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