Nora and Antigone, True Tragic Heroines.
Sophocles" Antigone along with Ibsen's A Doll's House are plays that place the main characters in tough personal situations which must be overcame by personal strength. Both playwrights uncharacteristically use female protagonists, Nora and Antigone, which are placed in tough situations. Antigone and Nora must choose whether it is more important to follow society's set standards for women, or make their own decisions based on what they feel is noble and just. Both women could be considered as cultural heroines because they overcame family adversities by defying the social standards set for women.
Antigone and Nora appear to be different when it comes to values and morals. Nora comes off as a whimsical character that is light-hearted and shallow. Torvald, her husband, refers to her as his "song bird" and little "squirrel." The nicknames Torvald uses to speak to Nora seem to be childish and degrading. Torvald has authority over Nora and represses her, which gives the audience the impression that Nora is weak and immature. On the other hand, Antigone from the beginning is shown as having honor, respect, and courage. Within the first several scenes of the play we see Antigone pleading with Ismene to help her bury their brother. Ismene refuses, and Antigone tells her that she will bury him alone, thus showing the audience that Antigone is bold and courageous. .
Antigone is a daughter of the late King Oedipus and Queen Jocasta. A curse was placed upon her father, who caused much anguish for the city of Thebes and his family. After the death of her father, Antigone's uncle, Creon, became King of Thebes. We learn in the beginning of Antigone that her brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, killed one another while fighting. Eteocles had a proper funeral ceremony, while Polynices" body was ordered to rot in the sun by the Creon. Creon declared Eteocles a patriot and Polynices a traitor.