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Word Count: 786
A foil is a contrast between two characters that depicts similarities or differences in the personalities of these two individuals When this contrast establishes prominent traits by utilizing contradiction it is often used in literature as well as in the theater Sophocles a Greek playwright uses this literary device in his play Antigone to emphasize the actions and strong features of his female protagonist Antigone Sophocles uses the character Ismene as a foil to highlight the bravery rebelliousness and stubbornness of Antigone Ismene and Antigone are sisters who find themselves in difficult circumstances They take contradicting approaches which emphasize their diverse personalities Ismene is a foil of Antigone because her characteristics contrast Antigones traits and ultimately highlight them Antigones bravery is striking when in comparison to Ismenes cautious choices Antigones courage is shown when she buries her brother Polyneices after a rule is installed that prohibits her from doing so However Antigone makes sure her brother receives the burial he deserves Her action is an example of bravery because she behaves dangerously without fear In addition Ismene contrasts Antigones fearless actions with her timid demeanor Ismene demonstrates her fearfulness when she chooses not to help Antigone with the burial of their brother ANTIGONE Ismene I am going to bury him Will you come ISMENE Bury him You have just said that the new law forbids it ANTIGONE He is my brother And he is your brother too Sophocles 108 This conversation shows Ismenes hesitation and Antigones courage to go through with the burial despite governments resistance to it A comparison between Ismenes meek nature and Antigones bravery demonstrates an emphasis on the opposing traits between the sisters Antigones courage becomes more dominant whereas Ismenes caution contrasts the bravery Antigone is seen as a more defiant figure in comparison to Ismenes respectful nature For instance Antigone acts with civil disobedience when she defies the government while Ismene chooses to obey the government policies Antigone disobeys
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