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Essay on The Tragedy of Sophocles' Antigone

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The Tragedy of Antigone

 In the story of Antigone, Oedipus has already died, his two sons. Polyneices and Eteocles, left to contend for the throne of Thebes. In their contention for the throne, the two brothers slay one another, leaving Creon once again to be the acting regent of Thebes. With this power, Creon declares that Polyneices must be left to rot on the battlefield, the highest disgrace to any Greek. Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, is left torn between state of family, and in the end, chooses family over state. Disregarding Creon's edict with grave danger to herself, Antigone ventures to bury the body of Polyneices, and thus begins her adventure. Antigone is truly a tragic hero, marked by her station as son of Oedipus, and her proud and perhaps arrogant characteristics which will lead to her eventual, inevitable, tragic ending. At the start of her tale, Antigone is the daughter of royalty, but more then that, a daughter of a horrible tragedy: through an unwitting horror story, her father, Oedipus, was also her brother, as Oedipus was married to his mother before she killed herself upon discovering the truth. Before his death, Oedipus had blinded himself, adding to the tragedy. However, Antigone's own tragedy was still unfolding. Through her proud and unrelenting character, Antigone is determined to give her brother a rightful burial, despite Creon's edict.

At first Antigone seeks the help of her sister, Ismene, but when she realizes the fear and submissive attitude Ismene possesses, Antigone disregards it as even an option, another example of perhaps Antigone's tragic flaw, her own arrogance. As the tale continues, Antigone does indeed bury her brother, but is caught by Creon. In doing so however, she wins the ...


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...lm manner are not maintained, and we will indeed be wiser from knowing her story.

The story of Antigone was a classic Greek tragedy: a continuation of the immense tragedy that had already befallen the house of Oedipus. Moreover, Antigone herself was a definite tragic hero, fitting every requirement and marked by every characteristic of a tragic hero. Despite her failings and downfall, justice of the human spirit shines through in the end, marking the story as a true tragedy: Creon is defeated by his own actions, and Antigone's own tragic death marks the beginning of that defeat. Quoting directly from the notes on classical tragedy, "Tragedy has a satisfying, redemptive ending because the events in tragedy are arranged so well that we would not have the play end any other way; we accept the conclusion." Antigone does indeed satisfy that requirement as a tragic play.


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