Can anyone describe the relationship between Antigone and ismene?

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The contrast and conflict presented in the first scene through the argument of Antigone and Ismene shows us much about their characters. Each sister depicts a different perspective on the subject at hand: the burial of their brother, which has been outlawed under penalty of death. Though each conclusion can be rendered reasonable, this conversation also depicts their flaws, and even perhaps the reasons for the development of these flaws.

Antigone is a very strong woman. She sees in black and white, has her convictions, and acts upon them. Ismene, on the other hand, is more complacent than her sister. It is not, perhaps, that she doesn't distinguish right from wrong, but rather that she is unwilling to act upon those convictions. Her most prominent character flaw is that she has no backbone. She is simply accepting of the conditions presented to her. It could be argued that Antigone's character flaw is her sense of superiority. She places herself above the law; however, this not really born out of self, but more so of necessity. It is her nature to do what is right, and is thus made to make an impossible decision: should she follow the law of Creon or the law of the gods. She chooses to obey the gods and I completely agree with her. She realizes that the human law is not always going to be good and right. None of this is to impugn Ismene. She acted as many of us would -- to preserve her life. I think that it is simply fascinating that in one simple conversation between sisters, Sophocles can examine the issue of right versus wrong, of right versus easy, of survival versus sacrifice; and, that he was able to examine so completely both perspectives.



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