Zamyatins We A Collection Of Critical Essays On Antigone

Essay on Antigone Is a Tragedy by Aristotle's Rules

1215 WordsDec 11th, 20115 Pages

What are Aristotle’s five rules that are necessary to a tragedy? The play Antigone by Sophocles is considered a tragedy. There are five rules created by Aristotle that classify a tragedy. All plays must have catharsis, a tragic hero, a change in fortune within a character, must be poetic, and happen in one location, in one day, and it is all closely related. Two main characters are the king Creon and a girl named Antigone. Antigone is a tragedy because it exhibits and follows all five of Aristotle’s rules. The first rule of Greek tragedy is it must have catharsis. Catharsis is having pity or terror. A character must scare the audience or make the audience feel bad for them. After the play audience must want to lead a better life. In…show more content…

Catharsis is a big part of Antigone and also Greek tragedy. When you want to have a play that is a tragedy, a tragic hero is necessary. This tragic hero must be of high social standing. They must have a tragic flaw, something bad in their character, or make a bad decision that ruins a lot of people’s lives. The tragic hero in Antigone is Creon, the king. Creon is of high social standing because he is the king of Thebes. His major tragic flaw is he is arrogant.
I will bring her there the path is loneliest, / and hide her alive in a rocky cavern there. I’ll give just enough food as shall suffice… / Perhaps she will win from him escape from death / or at least in that last moment will recognize / her honoring of the dead is a labor lost (833-842) In this quote Creon is making himself look like he is taking charge and punishing Antigone harshly. He is trying to amplify what he plans to do to Antigone. He is being too proud. In reality, though, he did not do these things to the degree he boasts about to Antigone. Creon makes it seem that he is cruel, but he really is not as cruel as he appears. Another time, the prophet is calling Creon out.
Yield to the dead man; do not stab him– / now he is gone—what bravery is this, / to inflict another death apon the dead? I mean you well and speak well for your good. It is never sweeter to learn from a good counselor / than when he counsels to your benefit.” (1078-1083)
In this quote, the prophet is calling

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The Oedipus myth was well known even in Sophocles’ day, so his audience already knew what would happen at the end of Antigone. The contrast between what the audience knows and what the characters know sets up the tension, the dramatic irony. However, Sophocles uses dramatic license and adds events that are not found in any previous account of the myth, including the quarrels between Antigone and Ismene, Antigone’s two attempts to bury Polynices, Antigone’s betrothal to Haemon, the entombment of Antigone, Tiresias’s argument with Creon, and the suicides. These added events serve to intensify the play.

Although the last play in the Oedipus trilogy, Antigone was written first. The play won for Sophocles first prize at the Dionysia festival. It is still a popular play, with many stage and screen adaptations, including Jean Anouilh’s famous stage production Antigone (pr. 1944, pb. 1946; English translation, 1946), placing the story in a World War II setting, and Amy Greenfield’s 1990 stark, interpretive dance-film version (Antigone—Rites of Passion).

The conflicts within the play, represented by the conflicts between Antigone and Creon, are powerful human struggles that are still relevant today: the state versus the individual, the state versus family, the state versus the church, the old versus the young, and man versus woman. Although the Chorus delivers the moral of obedience to the laws of the gods before all else, the moral is not a tidy conclusion. Many questions remain unanswered, many conflicts unresolved. For example, when is family more important than the state? In ancient Greece, it was the duty of women to bury family members. Leaving Polynices unburied was a violation of not only the laws of the gods but also the laws of the family. In addition, Creon was willing to put his own niece, and his son’s fiancé, to death. After a brutal civil war, however, restoring order is the responsibility of the king. When, and to what extent, do the laws of the gods and of the state override the laws of the family?

Connected to the above themes is the theme of choices and consequences. The characters in the play have free will to choose, but the consequences of their choices are guided by fate—determined by the gods. To what extent, however, do the characters truly have free will? Antigone’s conscience is pressured by the demands of family tradition and obedience to the gods, while Creon is tasked with preserving law and order. How much is each bound by their position in society, or by their conscience? Both Antigone and Creon stick stubbornly to what they feel are logical choices—but they are limited in their knowledge and cannot foresee all the consequences of their choices. Too often they stubbornly refuse to listen to council, which tries to guide them in their choices. Had Antigone and Creon listened more, the tragedies may have been averted, but each would have had to sacrifice some pride as well as give up a little of who they are.

Antigone is a complex play, one that defies ready interpretation. It is a study of human actions, with complex emotions. Each character represents a moral ideal, a moral argument, and the play becomes a great debate. The two major debaters in the play, Antigone and Creon, are both destroyed at the end, leaving the debate with no clear winner. Antigone demands its audience to continue the debate.


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