Mr. Scott Harrison
Pre-AP English 10
14 August 2013
Sophocles uses rhetorical appeals in Antigone in order to clarify what the characters say to the tragic hero Creon. Ethos, pathos, and logos are used in this Greek tragedy by three characters to make Creon realize and reverse his decision in punishing Antigone for her crime. Antigone, Haemon, and Teiresias all use a different predominant one form of rhetorical appeal, yet it is just one of these characters using pathos that is able to overcome Creon’s stubbornness.
Antigone’s argument is “All these men here would praise me were their lips not frozen shut with fear of you,” (2. 114-115) where she uses ethos to signify the unethical person Creon is being in her opinion, his stubbornness in her eyes. Yet it is the ethos referring to her saying Creon is morally unstable where it is obvious because the rhetorical appeal present, revealing perhaps what rhetorical appeal Sophocles is trying to use. Her persuasion fails to even tempt Creon of having the slightest remorse of punishing her, however, and the rhetorical appeal used does not seem successful. Haemon then pursues his wish of convincing Creon with a much more humble approach, also at first using ethos, with “You make things clear for me, and I obey you,” (3.10), but then clears with a different manner with a different rhetorical analysis, the predominant appeal, logos. He uses logos with “The City would deny it, to a man,” (3.106) when he is using logic to explain to Creon that the city would overthrow their ruler suggesting the “if, then” statement that logos is known for. Teiresias uses pathos where his emotional tone is set with vivid imagery, and makes Creon truly feel regret his decree. It is when Teiresias says “Then take this, and take it to your heart! The time is not far off when you shall pay back corpse for corpse, flesh of your own flesh,” that Creon truly sees what has happened. This is when it has become