Antigone - the Use of the Classical Tragedy Concept of Hamartia

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In Sophocles' Antigone, it is evident that the author incorporated the concepts used in classical tragedies in relation to the downfall of the heroine, Antigone. These factors being; hamartia, hubris, and fate clearly demonstrate how Antigone providing a proper burial for Polynices put her against Creon and her provocation against his power. Throughout the play there are various instances where Antigone displays such factors and ultimately they contribute, to a great extent, her demise.

The use of the classical tragedy concept of hamartia is largely demonstrated through the character of Antigone. In the play, Antigone's brothers Polyneices and Eteocles begin a struggle for power against one another. Their father, Oedipus, was king and after his death it was agreed that his two sons would share the throne. Eteocles, the eldest son, did not let Polyneices take the throne when his turn arrived, thus creating a battle among the two. This resulted in the death of both brothers. Creon, Antigone's uncle, then claimed the throne and decided to honor Etecoles and give him a proper burial fit for a king. Polyneices, on the other hand, was unworthy in Creon's eyes of such an event and thought his body should lie on the fields for the birds and the dogs. Antigone was unable to fathom why Creon would think in such a manner. "Tis not my nature to join in hating, but in loving." (Antigone, p.12) To Antigone, her brothers were equal and both loved by her, she could not bare the thought that Polyneices corpse would be left there to decompose. She decided that she would oppose Creon and give her brother the burial she believed he deserved. At this point in the play it is evident that Antigone's hamartia is revealed. She becomes disobedient of Creon which contributes to a great extent, her downfall. According to her beliefs, the divine law is greater than that of human law. Her flaw is not believing that the gods would want her to provide her brother with such an honor but...
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