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Comparison of 'Rebellious Maidens' withing Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and Sophocles' Antigone

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Introduction

World Literature Assignment Jacqueline Tranvan Word Count: 1, 580 The presentation of "rebellious maidens" in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and Sophocles' Antigone In Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and Sophocles' Antigone, the main characters are "rebellious" and do what is not expected of them. Hedda and Antigone are rebellious in respective ways depending on what is accepted by society, the viewers' ideals at the time, and the law that governed the people. Considering the expectations that each woman has, Antigone and Hedda are "rebellious maidens". The word "rebel" is usually used to describe someone who resists authority, whereas "maiden" is applied to a young unmarried woman, hinting that a "maiden" is innocent and pure. From the audiences' view, in the play Antigone, Antigone is rebellious in a way for she goes against Creon's order but is reasonable. For her action of burying her brother is justified. "You cannot mean ... to bury him? Against the order?"... "I will bury my brother"(Antigone, Exodus 44 and 66). Though Antigone goes against the law, from the reader's perspective, her actions are right because it is taught in her culture that when dead, the body needs a proper burial. ...read more.

Middle

To everyone's astonishment, it is not a "he" but a "she." Creon punishes Antigone for her crime of burying her brother by imprisoning her in a cave as she awaits her punishment of being stoned. In the cave, Antigone decides to take her own life before being stoned. Antigone's second rebellious act is her suicide. Antigone's suicide maybe an expected act for the audience but it is still rebellious. "We saw her hanging by the neck" (Antigone, Exodus 1220). Antigone hangs herself in the cave that she is imprisoned in before Creon can tell her that she will not be punished. Antigone's act is one that shocks each person because she took matters into her own hands and took her own life rather than being stoned. By hanging herself, Antigone shows that she accepts her fate and does not deny death. Unlike most women in Thebes, Antigone did not care about what the laws were and did what she believed is to be right; she did not want the approval of men before taking action. In Hedda Gabler, Hedda commits rebellious acts of her own that shock both the viewer and society at the time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Unexpectedly, just when the reader thought that the climax of the play is over, Hedda shockingly shoots herself with her other gun to avoid scandals. "Shot herself! Shot herself in the temple! Can you imagine!" "But good God! People don't do such things!" (Hedda Gabler, 304) Hedda shooting herself is an act of going against authority because she wishes not to be controlled by Brack. In addition, by taking her life, not only did she kill herself but she possible could have killed her unborn child, for there is ambiguity of her pregnancy. Conventionally, women were expected to take care of their children, but Hedda kills hers. It is illegal and not accepted by society to kill yourself and to kill another life, as Hedda executes both crimes. One of Hedda's two guns is given to Lovborg to kill himself and for the guns to be a pair; it is as though the other gun must also be used to take away a life. All her acts are considered rebellious to the reader and to society because her actions are not accepted and agreed upon. As a conclusion, Hedda and Antigone are "rebellious maidens" in their own sense. Each female is viewed as a rebel considering what is accepted by not only society but also the viewer and the law at the time. ...read more.

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