Antigone Fear/ Pity
Fear and Pity Shown in Antigone The Greek Philosopher Aristotle defined tragedy as a form of drama that evokes fear and pity in the audience. The tragic play Antigone conflicts that definition because although pity is evoked throughout the play, modern audiences have difficulty experiencing fear because they fail to acknowledge the role fate plays in their everyday lives. At the end of the play pity can be felt towards Creon because his wife and son died and it was his fault. When Creon finds out they died he exclaims, “Oh pity! All true, and more than I can bear. Oh my wife, my son” (109-111). Both Greek and modern audiences can relate to the pain, sense of loss, even guilt felt when a loved one dies. Pity could be evoked in either audience through this relation. Although pity can be felt for Creon by either audience, modern audiences have a hard time experiencing fear while reading Antigone. When Creon realizes his downfall had come, he says, “Whatever my hands have touched has come to nothing. Fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust” (137-138) The mention of fate causing the ruin of a powerful man would have caused fear in Greek audiences because they realized the role fate played in their lives and that everyone is destined to a certain fate that is uncontrollable. Modern audiences often feel as though they can control their own fate, which is why they often have trouble realizing the fear any tragedy is supposed to evoke in them.
Pity can be felt for Antigone when Creon’s men found Polynices body and took Antigone to Creon. When the sentry takes Antigone back to Creon he says, “Just so, when this girl found the bare corpse, and all her love’s work wasted. She wept, and cried on heaven to damn the hands that had done this thing. And then she brought more dust and sprinkled wine three times for her brother’s ghost” (38-42). This...
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