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Power is a force that can change the world, or simply change one's life. It can be used for good or for evil. In the play Antigone by Sophocles, the main character, Antigone deals with the forces of external and internal power struggles. In the Introductory Lectures on Psycho- Analysis, by Sigmund Freud, he takes his audience through the explanations of how the unconscious mind works. Although one could argue that Antigone is powerless in her feud with Creon, she actually displays a great sense of inner power within a Freudian viewpoint, and is triumphant both internally and externally.

Society Women Taking First Aid Course, Thomas Mcavoy, 1940-11, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
During the time period in which Antigone took place, woman were seen as inferior beings. They were meant to be subordinate and obedient. Women were caretakers. This photo represents the way women were viewed. These women were taking first aid courses, which backs up the idea that they are supposed to be able to take care of the men. Antigone contradicts these ideas because she is true to herself and her family. She would rather die than be inferior and controlled by men.
John Jennings Esq., his Brother and Sister-in-Law, Alexander Roslin, 1769, From the collection of: Nationalmuseum Sweden
Polynices and Eteocles are the brothers of Antigone and Ismene. The two brothers were both in line to rule Thebes; but Eteocles refused to give his brother time on the throne. There was a battle in which both of the brothers killed each other. Eteocles was given a proper burial by Creon, but Polynices was ordered not to be buried. Freud would say that Antigone is in love with her brother deep in her unconscious mind because she goes to great lengths to bury him. This photo represents Antigone and her two brothers before the battle for the thrown occurred.
Cleon Peterson, Power, Cleon Peterson, 2014, From the collection of: Palais de Tokyo
This photo is a representation of the fight between Haemon and Creon. Haemon is Creon's son who is supposed to marry Antigone. However, after Antigone breaks the law, Creon is completely opposed to the idea of their marriage. In front of Ismene and Antigone Creon says " I loathe bad women. She' not for my son"(Sophocles. 571). Haemon and Creon go back and forth fighting about Antigone because Haemon is defending his fiancé. He threatens Creon saying that if Antigone dies, someone else will die too(Sophocles 750-751)
Misses Isabella and Fanny, daughters of the Reverend William Browne, Frederick STRANGE, c.1845, From the collection of: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
A representation of family loyalty and the bond between sisters. They both deal with internal power struggles in completely different ways. Ismene was the first to hear of Antigone's plans to disobey the law and bury their brother. She strongly disagreed with the idea because unlike Antigone, she would rather be submissive and obedient. Her inner power struggle surfaces when she admits to being Antigone's accomplice. She says, " I did it, I confess. I am an accomplice, and i bear responsibility with her"( Sophocles 536-537). She decides to be selfless and give herself up in order to help her sister. Antigone however, wants her sister to live and not receive any penalty for her actions.
The Burial of Christ, Juan de Juni, 1541/1544, From the collection of: Museo Nacional de Escultura
This is a representation of a proper burial. Eteocles was the brother who received the proper burial, while Polynices was left to rot. The main conflict behind the play Antigone is her mission to bury Polynices. Her inner power and strength is what led her to make this decision even if it meant working against external forces of power, which is this case meant King Creon. To be buried properly was to be given power and honor in the afterlife.
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This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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