Antigone, As Described By Aristotle
The tragic play Antigone, written by Sophocles, is a story of mixed emotions and drastic reactions. At the beginning of the play, the current ruler of Thebes, Creon, orders that no one is to touch the deceased Polynecies. However, Antigone has a very different plan for his body. Antigone tries to convince her sister, Ismene, to help her bury her brother, but she is too afraid to break the law. After sprinkling dirt on the body, Creon sentences Antigone to death, even though she is engaged to be married to Creon’s son, Haimon. Antigone, Haimon, and Creon’s wife, Eurydice, all commit suicide in the end. Antigone exemplifies Aristotle’s classical definition of a tragedy by consisting of quantitative and organic parts, making the story seem probable, and having a tragic hero. In Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy, he states that there must be two parts: quantitative and organic. When reading Antigone, the quantitative parts, prologos, episodes, choric, odes, and exodos, are clearly labeled before each section. The story also has organic parts, recognition and pathos. The recognition part of the play is when Creon decides to release Antigone because it is the wrong thing to do. He says, “Come with me to the tomb. I buried her, I/ will set her free,” (act 5, lines 106-107). The pathos, or scene of suffering, occurs to Creon when the realization that everyone is dead hits him. He is engulfed in sorrow and self-sufferance because his wife and son have perished. He even goes far enough to say, It is right that is should be. I alone am guilty. I know it, and I say it. Lead me in, Quickly, friends. I have neither life nor substance. Lead me in (act 4, lines 121-124) When reading carefully, the parts of Antigone are obvious to the reader, coinciding with Aristole’s definition. Another part of Aristotle’s definition is that the story line should be probable. Antigone’s plot seems possible because of the real emotions and the...
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