Is Antigone a tragic play as defined by Aristotle?
Antigone is not a tragic play. Rather it is a theological debate spawned by Sophocles, a debate that is still raging today, the debate of who holds the higher law, the Gods or the State. While this debate has slowly twisted into Church versus State, which is a very different argument, the highest questions still remain the same: Which one is held higher in men’s (and women’s) hearts? Antigone answers this question with shocking clarity in her admission of guilt to Creon, “ I should have praise and honor for what I have
done. All these men here would praise me, were their lips not frozen shut with fear of you. Ah, the good fortune of kings, licensed to say and do whatever they please! C: you alone are in that opinion. A: No, they are with me, But they keep their tongues in leash.” By saying thus, Antigone is proclaiming all everyone holds the laws of the Gods higher than the laws of the State, unless the State is the more immediate threat.
But this all raises another question, does the law of the Gods really matter? Will the Gods truly beseech you and seek to bring you harm for not following in their ways? One who is not so religious would say no, it is not the Gods who hold the sword at your throat but a man, who at that moment cares nothing for the Gods. But in the case of Antigone, the Gods do act out their revenge. Tireseas spake: “I tell you Creon, you yourself have brought this new calamity upon us. Our hearths and altars are stained with the corruption...