Antigone vs. Juliet
Written by Sophocles, Antigone is an ancient Greek tragedy that discusses two girls’ decision to bury their dead brother despite the fact that the king will execute anyone who tries to do so. Should they honor the god’s laws, but risk their own lives in the process? On the other hand, Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare about two young lovers from feuding families. The play ends in much grief as both of the lovers die due to unfortunate circumstances.
While these two pieces of text are very different, they still share certain commonalities.
For instance, the two main female characters, Antigone and Juliet, possess similar personality characteristics, such as rashness, loyalty, and courage, which help classify them in the archetype of a tragic heroine. To begin with, both Antigone and Juliet are very brave and rebellious. They are strong characters who fight for what they want and what they feel is right. For example, Antigone is willing to bury her brother Polyneices even though she knows that she is putting her own life on the line. Her sister Ismene warns her of the risks, but Antigone knows that she will put into action what she feels she is morally obligated to do.
Similarly, Juliet shows these daring personality traits. During Shakespearean times, parents arranged marriages for their children, and daughters were expected to be obedient and respectful towards their parents. However, Juliet goes against her father because of her love for Romeo. She openly disrespects her authority, which leads to her being threatened of being left out on the streets; these actions certainly take a lot of bravery. Additionally, both of these characters use their fearlessness to rebel against fate when they commit suicide.
Antigone is caught for burying Polyneices, but Antigone kills herself first so that she can die at her own hand. Juliet stabs herself with a dagger so that she can die with Romeo, her one true love. Both of these stubborn and defiant women refused to accept their fate, so they took it into their own hands. Clearly, these two ladies are strong and act on their own terms. Added to that, Antigone and Juliet are both impatient in their behavior. Their reckless and impulsive choices lead to misery in their lives. For example, Antigone is being rash when she decides to bury her brother.
Instead of thinking of a logical and practical plan, she wants to immediately break the law to get it done. If Antigone had talked to Creon about her thoughts, she might have swayed his decision. After all, they are family, and Creon does understand that it would be the moral thing to do. Unfortunately, Antigone acts too quickly, and the tragic events unravel soon afterwards. Furthermore, Antigone kills herself in the tomb before she can be saved by Creon. She makes the hasty choice to end her life, but is unaware of the fact her life could have been saved just a few moments later.
Comparatively, Juliet also shows that she is an impatient person. Firstly, her love with Romeo was very rushed. They meet, pronounce their love, and marry all in just a couple of days. The rational thing to do would be to slow down their relationship; Friar Lawrence advises them to do so because long love prospers. However, Juliet and Romeo disregard his advice, and they quickly profess to each other and become husband and wife. Their hurried actions create problems in the future. Sadly, both of the characters must suffer for the choices that they make.
Lastly, Antigone and Juliet are very loyal. While they are rash and rebellious, they are still very honorable people. Being a tragic heroine, it’s important to be respected by the audience. Antigone shows her loyalty when she wants to bury her brother. Firstly, her strong desire to honor her sibling displays the love that she has for her family. Furthermore, she shows how noble she is because she wants to do the right thing no matter what. She chooses to honor the god’s laws instead of King Creon’s law. Juliet is also a loyal character because she always stays true to Romeo.
Her love lies with her husband, and she does everything she can to be with him and she never betrays him. For instance, she disobeys her parents by choosing not to marry Paris, and she also takes a potion to fake her death despite her many fears. She fears that she will be killed by the potion, wake up before Romeo arrives to her in the tomb, or go insane because of it, but she throws her fears away and drinks it anyways because of her loyalty to Romeo. This shows a lot of her character and who she really is. Furthermore, she even goes as far as killing herself to be with her husband, even in the afterlife.
No one can say that these two characters don’t stay true to what they believe in. In summary, these two characters’ rashness, bravery, and honor demonstrate how they are perfect examples of a tragic heroine. Their flaws have led them to mistakes in judgment and other future complications. In this case, both of these females are rash and impatient. However, they are still respected and are good people despite their faults, so they are still liked by the audience. These qualities, found in Juliet and Antigone, represent the epitome of the tragic heroine archetype.