2017 Women’s March movement; more than 2 million across the world, in all 50 states of the US, in all 7 Continents and with 673 Marches. Each different in a way, but all for the same reason; to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues. The First Women’s March was back in 1913 in New York City when over 10,000 men and women took to the streets in protest to allow for women’s privilege to vote.
Burial at Thebes is when Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus King of Thebes, Greece, learns that her two brothers Polyneices and Eteocles have killed each other fighting on different sides of a war- the elder brother, Eteocles, was buried with honor while the younger one known as Polyneices was othered out and denied of any burial at all. Out of the love of her brother, Antigone goes against the law made to prevent Polyneices a burial and buries him, causing a series of events.
Comparison between these two are surprisingly slim; in some instances they have several similarities and other times they have differences that separate them from each other.
The Burial at Thebes revolves around a woman named Antigone and the timely exploration of the conflict between those who affirm the individual’s human rights and those who must protect the state’s security. Antigone was the daughter of King Oedipus of Thebes, who was the former king of the kingdom before commiting a tragic crime (that’s not related to this plot). Polyneices is one of Antigone’s brothers; Eteocles is Antigone’s other brother. Both died in the battle. Eteocles defended Thebes, and Creon wants to give him a hero’s funeral while Polyneices fought against Thebes, and Creon wants to leave his body in a field and let vultures and dogs eat away at the corpse. Creon declares that anyone who buries Polyneices will be put to death. Yet Antigone, being the loyal sister she is, demanded on burying Polyneices; but since she did go against the law made for Polyneices, she was shortly after punished by Creon himself. Throughout the beginning and end of her protests (her death), the town’s people grew more for Antigone’s freedom from her punishment.
As Antigone stated in page 6 and 7 of The Burial at Thebes: “Eteocles has been buried as a soldier, with full honors, so he’s gone home to the dead. But not Polyneices, Polyneices is denied any burial at all.” & “..This is his edict for you and for me, Ismene, for me! And he’s coming to announce it. ‘I’ll flush ‘em out,’ He says. ‘Whoever isn’t for us is against us in this case. Whoever breaks this law, I’ll have them stoned to death.’ I say, He has put this to us. I say.” These two sentences in her confrontation with her sister Ismene are the first instances where Antigone has shown the empowerment to take the matters of Polyneices’ burial into her own hands. Creon’s threats made towards the people were meant to out the two sisters in an othering method as stated in the second sentence.
In 2017, women’s groups across the United States coordinated mass rallies, grabbing the attention of millions of people in hundreds of cities, towns, and states- some were even in different Countries. The 2017 Women’s March mostly has circled around advocating legislation and policies regarding; human rights (healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, etc..) and civil rights. Most of the rallies were aimed at Donald Trump immediately after his formal ceremony as President of the United States (mostly due to the statements he had made previously that were seen as offensive.).
As said by the people in charge of the start of The 2017 Women’s March, it was meant to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.” The protest in Washington D.C alone drew in around 500,000 to a million to the march, but in the entire US the population of people in the marches summed up to around 3,000,00-5,000,000 people.
Human rights is one of the first-line problems focused on for both Antigone and The Women’s March. Not only are they going against the person in power is because of their decisions, but it’s also because of how they treat the people in the march and Antigone. As said in page 10 by Antigone’s sister, Ismene; “How do you think we’d fare if we went against the order? Two women on our own faced with a death decree. Women, defying Creon? It’s not a woman’s place. We’re weak where they are strong. Whether it’s this or worse, we must do as we’re told.” She explained to Antigone that her focus on burying her brother and creating this protest would cause backlash and only cause more problems not only because it was illegal, but also because she wasn’t the same gender as them. In The 2017 Women’s March, this position can also be put in.
Although there are several ways that sum up how these two events are equivalent to each, some sections can be found where the two are different partially or drastically. The 2017 Women’s March as a worldwide protest that was advocating for human rights (yet mostly focused on Women’s Rights), and unlike Antigone, this affecting more than a royal family. It was problem that related to many across the U.S and in other countries. For the Burial at Thebes, the problem was mostly circled around a law against Antigone’s brother that only affected her and her sister (until it had turned into a catastrophic event).
With both The Women’s March and Antigone, they were able to get the people on their side by having the same tatic; calling attention to what they’re protesting about. In some occurrences, when a person is othered out by another person’s decision, their response to it is to change it by grabbing people’s attention to side with them- in which in this instance is what had happened.
Nevertheless; In spite of this in The Burial at Thebes, Antigone had taken action differently than The Women’s March by committing burying her brother herself- meaning that she is guilty of committing an illegal crime. Protesting, however, is not necessarily violent or a threat to the interests of laws/safety. Nor is it necessarily civil disobedience, because most protest does not involve violating the laws.
Even if both sides were successful in taking matters into their own hands and getting the people’s attention while fighting for what was right, there were some events in the end that set them apart. In the end, Antigone’s quest for a legal burial for her brother had turned sour when after she had been imprisoned she had decided to take her own life, leaving her vengeance for her brother’s dishonor unfinished.
In conclusion, Antigone’s ways of persuasion and hard working ethics was somewhat of a motivator and influencer to what the Women’s March (2017) was fighting for- the civil human rights.
- “Ten Thousand Women March for the Right to Vote · HERB: Resources for Teachers.” Herb – Social History for Every Classroom, herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1682.
- Przybyla, Heidi M., and Fredreka Schouten. “At 2.6 Million Strong, Women’s Marches Crush Expectations.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 22 Jan. 2017, www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/21/womens-march-aims-start-movement-trump-inauguration/96864158/.
- “’The Women’s Wave Is Coming’: Global Women’s March Planned for January 2019.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 1 Oct. 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/09/29/global-womens-march-planned-january-2019/1471153002/.
- Filipovic, Jill. “Donald Trump Has Always Degraded Women.” Time, Time, 5 Dec. 2017, time.com/5047771/donald-trump-comments-billy-bush/.