The role of women

Both Antigone and Freud’s Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis comment on the perceived nature of women and their roles. In both texts, the role of women is defined by patriarchal ideals and women are confined to traditional gender roles, in which women are inferior and subordinate to men. In Antigone these is achieved through the repression of the female characters and through negative statements made about women, while Freud implies these themes in his beliefs about the concept of “penis envy.”

This exhibit examines a variety of artworks which convey themes of male superiority and female sexual envy. It displays evidence of traditional gender roles throughout history. The analysis of these works and the discovery of these themes in their content has been based on imagery relating to events, ideas, and symbols in the text.

The hierarchy of scale in this piece shows the relative importance of the figures. The female is much smaller, and is therefore portrayed as less important.
The fact that the men are carrying a woman suggests their strength, and implies that women are dependent on men. Ismene says of men, "we are subject to them because they are stronger" (Sophocles 5).
I chose this image because Creon implies that women require supervision so they don't cause trouble (Sophocles 28). This image appears to shows a man standing over the women, and keeping them occupied.
Creon says he will "not be ruled by a woman" (Sophocles 24). This image depicts and obvious display of male control over women by equating them to slaves or animals, conveying their inferiority.
Though Antigone/Creon's conflict is nonphysical, this represents conflict between the sexes. The man has the upper hand, indicating superiority. This could also parallel a woman's internal frustration at not being a man (Freud 191).
Creon implies that by acting independently Antigone has acted like a man (Sophocles 22). To Freud the sword is a phallic symbol; in this image it could represent a woman wanting to be a man (Freud 190).
Freud believes swords are phallic symbols (Freud 191). As such they signify male superiority. The men are preparing to fight, and the women are helpless and despondent, implying their weakness and dependency on the men.
Based on Freud's theories, the fact that she dreams of men indicates that she is subconsciously fixated on men because she wants to be one (Freud 191, 394).
Freud says the snake is a phallic symbol (Freud 191). Eve is focused on the snake, which could represent "penis-envy" (394). Combined with the significance of the apple this implies that her femininity is her downfall.
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