top-rated free essay

Was Antigone a Tragedy

By rebeccadempewolf Feb 24, 2014 865 Words

History 10th Grade
Week 5 Day 3
September 4, 2013
868 Words
Topic: Was Antigone a tragedy?
In the late 440’s B.C. the philosopher Sophocles wrote the tragic drama, Antigone. The play begins with the lead, Antigone distraught because the ruler, Creon, declared that all who fought the war against him and died did not deserve a proper ceremonial burial. Antigone’s brother fought against Creon and died. She decided she would bury her brother because an unburied soul would wearily wander earth forever. Also, breaking Creon’s law was not a large wrong in Antigone’s mind because it wasn’t the gods who ordered her not to bury her brother.1 Captured, Antigone was caught by Creon’s sentinel while she was burying her brother like a mouse in a mouse trap, and was brought before Creon for judgment. Creon had a hard time deciphering what to do with her because Antigone was betrothed to Creon’s son. In the end, Creon threw Antigone into a cave to rot and die. After Antigone’s death, Hᴁmon, Creon’s son and Antigone’s betrothed, committed suicide because of grief. Shortly following her son’s death, Creon’s wife killed herself too. Creon in the end was left family-less and realized that the gods always have the last say in human affairs.2 Looking at the story Antigone, there are two ways to determine if it is a tragedy. A tragedy is a story in which a good man or woman in unforeseen circumstances, is ruined through a mistake in judgment or a defect of character that would not ordinarily have such consequences. Having stated that, Antigone could either be a tragedy or not one.

One might say that Antigone is a tragedy. Applying the definition of tragedy, there is a good woman, Antigone. It could be said that the unforeseen circumstance to the story is the death of her brother. Her mistake of judgment would possibly be her undying undermining urge to bury her brother. Since the ruler of her land would not peacefully allow her to bury her brother, her craziness to disobey law and bury him anyways could be her defect in character. “…for within the house but now I saw her, frenzied and beside herself” Creon describs Antigone as one describes a psychopath.3 With this view point of Antigone, it would be correct to say that Antigone is a tragedy. Although a good woman, Antigone is come upon with a struggle, reacts hastily with bad judgment and acts crazy.

On the other hand, one may say that Antigone is not a tragedy. For this reasoning there must also be proof. The person in the story is Antigone. The circumstance in the play would be the death of her brother. This circumstance could have been foreseen, due to the fact that he was fight on the losing side of the war and her knowledge of Creon’s decree. Unsurprised, Antigone states “I knew as much,” at the news of her brother’s death from her sister.4 Antigone stated raged, “…None may bewail, none bury, all must leave Unwept, unsepulchred, a dainty prize for fowl that watch, gloating upon their prey! This is the matter he has had proclaimed – the excellent Creon!” proving Antigone knew of Creon’s decree.5 Ultimately, her judgment to bury her brother could be viewed not as a mistake. Antigone had the right to bury her dead brother. “Him I will bury… Those nether Powers, than powers on earth; for there forever must I lie. You, if you will, hold up to scorn what is approved in Heaven!”6 Here, Antigone is stating her right, from Heaven, that she has to bury her brother. She expressed her familial duty to bury her brother so he could reach heaven when she told Creon, “It is no shame to pay respect to our own flesh and blood.” 7 while he was interrogating her. Finally, she did not have a defect in character. A defect of character could be mental liabilities, emotional deformities, instinct to run wild, personal flaws, emotional insecurity, etc. Antigone didn’t have these. Wanting to bury a loved one, even if it is against the law, is not crazy. Antigone had reasons for breaking the law and secretly burying her brother. First, the law was not set up by the gods. Second, out of respect she buried him. She didn’t have defected character. When viewed as circumstances foreseen, judgment correct and not defected in character, Antigone is not a tragedy.

In conclusion, Antigone is not a tragedy. The deciphering of Antigone in the first way to look at Antigone is incorrect. Although there is the good man or woman, Antigone, the unruly circumstance could have been expected. Her brother was fighting in a war, on the losing side. Antigone could’ve expected it. Her judgment to bury her brother is not wrong. Anybody has the right to bury the dead, it is not wrong to believe so. Last, Antigone is not defected in character. She had rationally understood that burying her brother was the right thing to do. With these views, Antigone is not a tragedy.

Sophocles. Antigone. New York: Dover Publications, INC., 1993.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Antigone

    ...Antigone– The Characterization Sophocles’ tragic drama, Antigone, presents to the reader a full range of characters: static and dynamic, flat and round; they are portrayed mostly through the showing technique. In “Sophocles’ Praise of Man and the Conflicts of the Antigone,” Charles Paul Segal takes the stan...

    Read More
  • Antigone: the Tragedy

    ...Antigone: The Tragedy Antigone is a Greek play that is part of Ancient Greek literature, and it is still important for our society, in the twenty-first century. According to George Steiner, this play develops five main conflicts throughout it: confrontations between men and women, difference in age between characters, conflicts between the ind...

    Read More
  • Antigone: a Tragedy

    ...Antigone is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles set in the Bronze Age at the dawn of day in the royal palace of Thebes. It is story of a driven young girl named Antigone who is determined to bury her recently deceased brother, Polynices, by defying the orders of the new king of Thebes’, Creon. . The definition of an Ancient Greek tragedy thou...

    Read More
  • Antigone: an Aristotelian Tragedy

    ...In an Aristotelian Tragedy, most characters error that causes his or her own downfall. Like in Antigone by Sophocles whose character, Antigone, is trying to bury her deceased brother. Her uncle, Creon, who is now the new ruler of Thebes has made a new law stating that traitors shall not be buried and he considers Polyneices, Antigone’s broth...

    Read More
  • Antigone Is a Tragedy by Aristotle's Rules

    ...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 c...

    Read More
  • The Fulfillment of Aristotle’s Rules of Tragedy in Antigone

    ...The Fulfillment of Aristotle’s Rules of Tragedy in Antigone In Aristotle’s Poetics he analyzes in detail the various factors that make up a good tragedy. According to Aristotle, Tragedy is, “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude, in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament…” (...

    Read More
  • Analysis of Antigone as a Greek Tragedy

    ...Analysis of Antigone A Greek tragedy is very unique it’s structure, composition, and language. The tragedy usually begins with a prologue in which one or more characters introduce the drama and explain the background. It involves a Chorus of some sorts, which says or explains the situation that is developing on the scene, and also includes...

    Read More
  • The Greek Tragedy Antigone

    ...Antigone vs. Ismene In the Greek tragedy Antigone, the playwright Sophocles developed his characters with strongly contrasting personalities. The sisters Antigone and Ismene are foils to each other, in that they are characters with completely opposite personalities. Antigone is strong, stubborn, and stands up for what she believes in, while I...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.