The Story of Antigone

The story of Antigone has been told by many poets, playwrights, and others over the centuries. The relationship between Antigone and her father, Oedipus, and the conflict between Antigone and Creon, point to various aspects of the social roles of women in Thebes at the time this play was written. The tragedy of Oedipus echoes through the generations, affecting his children and determining the course of their lives for them, and Antigone can be examined using this Freudian view, much as Willbern does when he writes,

Such a focus will therefore be one-sided, viewed through paternal eyes--the patriarchal perspective. Freud sometimes characterized the daughter's perspective, but he was naturally more familiar with the father's (Willbern 75-76).

Any analysis of Antigone must also deal with the Oedipus myth and with the role of the father, as Benjamin indicates:

For Freud, the tragedy of Oedipus was the key to our unconscious desires and our inevitable sense of guilt (Benjamin 141).

Yet, Benjamin further notes that Freud's approach does not take into account the father's transgression, namely the sin of Laius when he tries to murder Oedipus in his infancy, and Benjamin finds that putting Laius back into the story makes this a tale of a father's transgression. Feminist theorists similarly find that Freud's emphasis on other issues shifts the role of femininity in a certain direction and ignores elements that would offer a different perspective.



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