Antigone Is a Tragedy by Aristotle's Rules

Topics: Tragedy, Sophocles, Poetics Pages: 3 (1212 words) Published: December 19, 2011
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 Antigone, there is a girl names Antigone. She has two brothers who were soldiers. They both died, one had a proper burial and one was going to be left as food for the vultures, to be rotted away. Antigone did not want this to happen. She uses catharsis in this quote: “But the unhappy corpse of Polyneices / he has proclaimed to all the citizens, / they say, no man may hide / in a grave nor mourn in funeral, / but leave unwept, unburied, a dainty treasure / for the birds that see him, for their feast’s delignt” (30-35). In this quote, Antigone wants the audience to feel pity for her. She is showing that she wants to bury her brother and that he should not be left for the birds to feast on. She wants her sister, Ismene, to also feel bad for not wanting to bury their brother. Another example of catharsis in Antigone is as follows:

CHORUS. But who is the murderer? Who is the murdered? Tell us.
MESSENGER. Haemon is dead; the hand that shed his blood was his very own. CHORUS. Truly his own hand? Or his father’s?
MESSENGER. His own hand, in his anger against his father for a murder. (1238-1244) This is an example of catharsis because the characters are making the audience feel pity towards Haemon, because he killed himself. Further on...
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