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The Tragedy of the play Antigone - Essay Example

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Tragedy of the play Antigone Introduction The play Antigone by Sophocles describes the tragedy that befalls the lives of both Antigone and Creon. But it is Creon who suffers the fate of the tragic hero. His pride blindfolds him to see his error. Creon’s tragic end is a cause of his pride, arrogance and indiscretion…
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Tragedy of the play Antigone Introduction The play Antigone by Sophocles describes the tragedy that befalls the lives of both Antigone and Creon. But it is Creon who suffers the fate of the tragic hero. His pride blindfolds him to see his error. Creon’s tragic end is a cause of his pride, arrogance and indiscretion. Unlike in Oedipus Rex where the tragedy is caused by a twist of fate, in Antigone it is caused by human folly. As Creon’s tragedy is more real, the audience can identify with the emotions and relate to the character. Tragedy of the play Antigone The play begins with an atmosphere of impending catastrophe as Antigone decides on an act of defiance. Her act of cremating her brother defying the orders of the ruler portrays her intrinsic morality rather than her defiance. She is a victim of the oppression of an autocratic system. Her deeds are heroic and noble. Her tragedy lies in the fact that she sacrifices her life for justice and values. Creon is more in the line of the quintessential tragic hero. The play witnesses the rise and fall of Creon. He nurtures an ego that ruins him. He spurns his son Haemon when he tries to point out his stubbornness that is misguiding him: Wear not, then, one mood only in thyself; think not that thy word, and thine alone, must be right. (Antigone) He accuses Teiresias, the blind seer, of being bribed when the wise man attempted to show him his mistake. Misfortune strikes him just as he is on the verge of rectifying his mistakes. It is the realization of his mistakes that elevates him to the status of the tragic hero. The central tragedy: Creon’s fall Though the play Antigone records the tragedy of Antigone and Creon, it is Creon’s narrative that has the elements of peripeteia and anagnorisis. At the beginning of the play Creon is shown to be an unbending stickler for rules. But he gets so obsessed with it that he forgoes basic human values and duties. He goes into a blind rage when he finds Antigone has disobeyed his orders and sentences her to a morbid death. He insults his son Haemon who is betrothed to Antigone and humiliates Teiresias, the sage. Each of his acts drives him towards his impending doom. He truly becomes an agent of erroneous judgment and impulsive action. He unleashes a chain of events with his action that goes beyond his control. Creon suffers a fall from having everything to nothing. Crisis strikes him just as he realizes his error and is about to set it right. It is this aspect of irrevocable crisis and denial of a second chance that intensifies the degree of pain and the audience begins to both sympathize and empathize with the character. The purpose of the tragic focus: Catharsis Catharsis or the purging process is the ultimate purpose of tragedy. In the play Antigone, Sophocles’ aim is to involve his audience in an intense emotional experience that would climax in catharsis. His purpose seems more to evoke pity than awe for the victim. As pity is a more comprehensible emotion to common people than a sense of sublime awe, the dramatist has stressed more on human errors and follies rather than Predestination. Though the play begins with Antigone’s resolution to defy authority, her infallibility and heroic ideals make her an extraordinary character that the audience looks up to but not relates with. Creon is more human in his acts and thoughts, he is vulnerable and uncertain. He changes his decision after Teiresias warns him but is too proud to admit his fears. He does not realize his mistake till it is too late to rectify it. When he discovers his faults he is overwhelmed with regret and self-pity and is thereby redeemed to humanity. This process of falling to rise produces collective feeling of guilt and guilt-riddance in the audience. The audience too shares with the emotion of the character and seems to be a part of the entire experience. It is this shared experience of catharsis that the dramatist ultimately strives to attain. Conclusion In conclusion it could be said that the play Antigone has all the characteristics of a tragedy. The plot consists of a conflict between the two opposing characters. There is a rise in action as the conflict intensifies and the climax is reached. There is a shared experience of catharsis between the characters and the audience. The chorus heightens the dramatic effect with song and words of wisdom. Work Cited Sophocles. Antigone. Trans. Jebb. R. C. The Internet Classics Archive. Web Atomic. 2009. retrieved 16th May 2011 from Read More
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