Antigone: The Structure Of Classical Tragedy And The Theme



The structure of classical tragedy supports the theme of Antigone. Unable to conform, Antigone chooses to honor the divine law of the gods over man’s law imposed by Creon.
The play begins in medias res, the Latin term for in the middle of things. This is seen in Antigone’s first quote of the play beginning on line four, "… On us while we yet live? Unhappiness, Calamity, disgrace, dishonour—which of these have you and I not known?" The classical tragedy, by beginning in medias res, causes uneasiness within the audience. Though most viewers know the basic story line, the audience immediately questions the reasons for Antigone’s distress. Again beginning on line 13, Ismene wails, "We ...

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about by Ismene attempting to reason with Antigone and reminding her of all that has gone wrong in the past. On line 48, Ismene pleads, "Think of our father, dear Antigone, And how we saw him die hated and scorned…And how his mother-wife, two names in one, Knotted a rope, and so destroyed herself…Our brothers fought each other to the death…" In her attempt to dissuade Antigone, Ismene reveals that Creon has demanded no one touch the body of Polynieces, Antigone’s brother, and death is the consequence for such action, justifying statements made at the beginning of the play. Creon has chosen to defy the laws of the gods concerning proper burial in order to make a scapegoat of Polynieces, and Antigone is torn between fear for her life and duty to protect her brother in his afterlife. The audience, having been enlightened concerning the events of the play thus far, supports Antigone’s position, yet fears upcoming events because it is evident already that Antigone will choose ...

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will be punished. However, as we see in the hamartia, because of a misstep made by Antigone, the guard is able to save his own life. After returning to Creon with Antigone, the guard explains, "…we saw the girl. She raised a bitter cry…(she) brought handfuls of dry dust, and raised aloft a shapely vase of bronze, and three times poured the funeral libation for the dead." Antigone still does not falter, admitting to the crime, saying, "It was not Zeus who published this decree, Nor have the powers who rule the dead imposed such laws…nor could I think that a decree of yours…could override the laws of Heaven." In an act of hubrus, Creon replies, "Now she would be the man, not I, if ...

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Added: 2/8/2004 10:27:23 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1504
Pages: 6

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