Antigone and Aristotle
Antigone was first produced in 441 B. C. It was written by a Greek playwright Sophocles. Antigone is the third play in an epic about a man named Oedipus and his family. This third installment is considered a Greek Tragedy, even today it is still being produced in theaters all around the world. It has had many critics, Aristotle being the most famous. Aristotle ideas and thoughts on tragedy were implied throughout the play. He was born in 384 B. C. , nearly 27 years after Antigone was first produced.
He considered Sophocles the greatest tragedy playwright of all time. Aristotle wrote the “Poetics” in 350 B. C. almost 100 years after Antigone was written. The “Poetics” were Aristotle’s opinions on how literature and drama should be. According to the “Poetics”, tragedy is defined as; “An imitation of action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude… concerning the fall of a man whose character is good… whose misfortune is brought about not by voice or depravity but by some error or frailty… ith incidents arousing pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions. ” In Anitgone there is a true tragic character named Creon. He is brought to destruction by one major flaw; Pride. Throughout the story he is convinced that he is right and everybody else is wrong. His major flaw cost him his niece, son and wife, who all killed themselves. The tragic character can’t be so virtuous that the audience isn’t able to feel connected with them. Usually the character is noble showing that things can happen to anyone.
There is a great difference between a present day epic and a real Greek tragedy, below is a table comparing and contrasting them. Epic Tragedy Idealized Men + WomenIdealized Men + Women Direct + Indirect NarrativeDirect Narrative (only) Limited MetersVarious Meters Open LengthLimited Length Antigone’s two main characters were a man and a women, and it had a direct narrative. The time of the play took place over one day 24 hours, it had a limited length, everything important happened in that time.
Aristotle has 6 elements of tragedy: Plot, character, language or dictation, thought, music or song, and spectacle. He believed that the action or plot of a play is more important than the characters. Plot is the most important feature of tragedy; it is not the story itself but the way things are presented to the audience, the structure of the play. The plot must have a beginning middle and end. During Antigone the plot of the play depended greatly on a chain of events, not on the characters itself.
Every character is dependent on the plot; one characters decision was just as important as the next. Even though it is an epic, Antigone? s plot is self contained, her decision in the beginning the play determines the end. Even though Aristotle’s time was after Antigone, his ides are shown throughout the play. Aristotle believed Sophocles to be so great because he know what a tragedy was and he used the characteristics throughout his writings. Aristotle’s writings were amazing and widely used but his ideas weren’t invented by him, they were there even before his time.