Revealing Of Conformity And Rebellion in Literature

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The themes of conformity and rebellion appear in a wide array of literary art materials available globally. Evidently, there is an obsession with the above themes, an indication of their real-life prevalence in the society over time. The play Antigone and the poem conformity and rebellion in the poem “When I was one and twenty” are just two literary works that focus on the two themes. However, their approach to the themes is somehow different from each other.

One of the striking similarities between the two works is that they both focus on two characters who display totally different attitudes towards life. For instance, while Ismene in Antigone is more submissive to the authorities that be, Antigone is more of an independent thinker ready to make bold moves she deems right. Ismene agrees with everything from the government while Antigone is wise enough to question the rationality of anything from the government. An example in the play is a situation where the two characters have to make a decision about burying their brother Eteocles. While Antigone is ready to go against the government’s order, Ismene cannot defy the directive not to bury the brother. At the same time, two characters in “When I was one and twenty”, display different behavioural attitudes. For instance, the author does not comply with the advice given by the elderly man until much later when he gets older. One can only assume that the older man being referred to in the poem was not as defiant as the author.

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In as much as there are clear similarities between the two as regards the themes of conformity and rebellion, evidence of dissimilarities is also there. First, conformity and rebellion in Antigone pities two sisters, where one is submissive and the other hard-headed. In the poem, the relationship between the author and the elderly wise man is not described. Therefore, the contrasting characters in the two works of art cannot be compared in the same way. Additionally, the poem provides evidence for the passage of time which leads to the transformation of character. For instance, the author conforms only after some insightful lessons from the elderly man. On the other hand, Ismene remains respectful of the authorities due to her apparent insecurities.

As demonstrated above, therefore, the themes of conformity and rebellion are presented differently in the Antigone and the poem “When I was one and twenty”.    


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