Antigone Along With Its Companion Plays Oedipus Essay

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Antigone

Along with its companion plays Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles' Antigone is one of the best known Greek tragedies, and as such offers the ideal text with which to highlight some of the more important elements of Greek tragedy in general, especially those outlined by Aristotle in his Poetics. In the Poetics, Aristotle argues that tragedy can be broken down into a series of conditions which must be met in order to consider something good tragedy, including the centrality of plot over character, the presence of a tragic flaw or mistake on the part of the main character, the necessity that the play reveal some moral or ethical truth, the use of stylistic language to convey these truths in characters' speech, and the close integration of the chorus into the plot of the play. By looking at plot, character, and speech in Antigone, one is able to better understand some of these necessary elements and the way in which they influence and shape the play's status Greek tragedy.

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Aristotle argues that the most central defining element of a tragedy is its plot, which must follow "a person who is neither a paragon of virtue or integrity, nor one who falls into misfortune owing to moral depravity, but does so owing to a mistake" or tragic flaw (Aristotle 178). Thus, the plot of a tragedy must concern itself with representing the reversal of fortune of the main character, and this reversal is seen in Antigone when the titular character is condemned to be buried alive by Creon, in punishment for "her proud contempt" (Sophocles line 546). This point also marks a reversal of fortune for Creon, who, like Antigone, suffers the consequences of hubris, although Creon's punishment is meted out via the death of his son Haemon (Sophocles line 1194).

Essay on Antigone Along With Its Companion Plays Oedipus Assignment

As mentioned before, plot is the most important element of Greek tragedy, and everything else ultimately serves to reinforce and reiterate the plot. Thus, while the characters may have detailed psyches and internal struggles, those psyches must serve to plot, and as such the "speech or conduct" of characters must be in line with their role within the larger story, so that "even if the character portrayed be fitful, and such a character be the theme, it ought to be uniformly fitful" (Aristotle 185-186). The characters of Antigone and Creon both demonstrate this crucial element well, because although they both demonstrate rich emotional lives, they are nonetheless defined by their tragic flaws which constitute their larger purpose within the story. In fact, Creon and Antigone's tragic flaws are deeply related, and this relation further demonstrates the centrality of plot to the play, thus reinforcing the most important element of Greek tragedy.

While Creon's admonishments of Antigone likely stem from the fact that she is a woman who has deign to disobey him, the fact remains that Antigone is openly defiant of official authority, as her love for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Antigone Along With Its Companion Plays Oedipus."  Essaytown.com.  February 2, 2012.  Accessed February 27, 2020.
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