Opposing Viewpoints Destroy the Bond between Antigone and Ismene

In Sophocles' play Antigone, the two sisters, Antigone and Ismene, have opposing opinions concerning which to value more - the dead or the living. Antigone places greater emphasis on her duty to honor her dead brother, Polynices, while Ismene feels that it is more important to obey the laws of the living. Their views remain unchanged throughout most of the play, and this causes tension to increase between them. Eventually, their sisterly bond is damaged by their unyielding viewpoints.

Antigone feels very strongly about burying Polynices, who, because he fought against Thebes, was not given the right to a burial. Antigone's desire to bury her brother becomes an obsession that blinds her from acknowledging any other viewpoint but her own. She tries to push her sister Ismene into joining her in a secret burial by demanding, "Decide. Will you share the labor, share the work (61)?" By calling the burial practice "labor" and "work," Antigone reveals that she truly considers the burial of her brother an arduous task. She takes on the job, but only because she feels that it is the living's duty to serve the dead. When Antigone tries to convince her sister to go on with her life, although...

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