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The Tragedy Antigone By Sophocles Essay

966 words - 4 pages

The play “Antigone” by Sophocles is a good tragedy and its quality can be supported by one of the most influential philosophers, Aristotle. Aristotle composed a list of criteria required for a good tragedy. This composition is called the “Theory of Tragedy”. This is a summary of qualities has withheld the test of time and can still be used to analyze a written tragedy. This summary breaks down the essentials for a good tragedy including specific requirements for plot, character, thought, dicition, chorus and spectacle. All of these specific requirements can be identified in Sophocles’ play.
In Aristotle’s “Theory of Tragedy”, he listed the plot as the first and most important requirement for a good tragedy. The plot must be unified and contain a beginning, middle and end. The beginning, or incentive moment, needs to initiate a cause and effect chain that cannot be dependent on an incident that occurred outside of the time span of the play. The middle, or climax, of the plot stresses the cause and effect chain as it continues. The resolution should be cause by previous events and conclude the conflict presented in the incentive moment. In Sophocles’ play, the incentive moment occurs when Creon makes a royal decree to forbid the burial of one of the two fallen brothers. The climax is experienced when Creon sentences Antigone to death. The resolution concludes the play when Creon decides to let Antigone go, but instead finds that she, Haemon and his wife have committed suicide. All the events within the play must be relevant to each other and a part of the cause and effect chain. A good tragedy should also contain peripeteia and anagnorsis, but both are not always present. The pair of these aspects can be found in the play “Antigone. Peripeteia can be noticed as Antigone changes from being an honorable hero to begging for self-pity. She could have died a hero but instead died in shame and weakness. Anagnorsis, or realization of truth, can be identified in a couple places in “Antigone”. One instance is when Antigone realizes she is dying because she believes and obeys the gods. A second occurs when Creon realizes he is the cause of the trouble in Thebes. In a perfect tragedy these two aspects combine to create the catastrophe that precedes the concluding “scene of suffering”. The final catastrophe in “Antigone” being Creon finding his love ones dead. The more powerful and prevalent the play is, the better it will hold the emotions of its audience. Aristotle also expressed the plot should be expansive and full linked events and themes. This will bring artistic quality to the play.
The character is the 2nd most important part of a tragedy. The character will support the plot and his/her emotions and intentions will be connected to the events of the cause and effect chain. This will bring concern, despair and empathy to the audience. The Character must have an essential...

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