This essay will illustrate the types of characters depicted in Sophocles’ tragic drama, Antigone, whether static or dynamic, flat or round, and whether portrayed through the showing or telling technique.
Martin Heidegger in “The Ode on Man in Sophocles’ Antigone” explains, in a rather involved theory, the destruction of Creon’s character:
The conflict between the overwhelming presence of the essent as a whole and man’s violent being-there creates the possibility of downfall into the issueless and placeless: disaster. But disaster and the possibility of disaster do not occur only at the end, when a single act of power fails, when the violent one makes a false move; no, this disaster is fundamental, it governs and waits in the conflict between violence and the overpowering. Violence against the preponderant power of being must shatter against being, if being rules in its essence, as physics, as emerging power(98).
The dialogue, action and motivation revolve about the characters in the story (Abrams 32-33).
Werner Jaeger in “Sophocles’ Mastery of Character Development” pays the dramatist the very highest compliment with regard to character development:
The ineffaceable impression which Sophocles makes on us today and his imperishable position in the literature of the world are both due to his character-drawing. If we ask which of the men and women of Greek tragedy have an independent life in the imagination apart from the stage and from the actual plot in which they appear, we must answer, ‘those created by Sophocles, above all others’ (36).
Surely it can be said of Sophocles’ main characters that they grow beyond the two dimension...
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...ment of his edict; he changes after Teiresias’ visit and warning. Ismene and Haemon become dynamic later in the tragedy. Rarely does the dramatist use the chorus to convey information; most of this comes from exchanges of dialogue, which would be the showing technique.
Abrams, M. H. A Glossary of Literary Terms, 7th ed. New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1999.
Antigone by Sophocles. Translated by R. C. Jebb. no pag.
Heidegger, Martin. “The Ode on Man in Sophocles’ Antigone.” In Sophocles: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Thomas Woodard. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.
Jaeger, Werner. “Sophocles’ Mastery of Character Development.” In Readings on Sophocles, edited by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1997.
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