The Excitement of Antigone
The Excitement of Antigone Sophocles manages to make internal events as exciting as external events in the play Antigone. Family and religion are sensitive subjects to this day and increase the excitement of events that wouldn’t be exciting otherwise. By emphasizing family affairs and religious beliefs, Sophocles makes internal and psychological dealings as exciting as they would be given external sources. The struggle between people is intensified when there are family relations and brings the audience closer to the characters on stage.
In Antigone the drama between Creon, Antigone’s father figure at the time, and Antigone is what generates the problem for Creon regarding killing Antigone and enforcing his law, or protecting his immediate family. Since family members are closer to each other, there are more conflicting emotions surrounding Creon due to Antigone being his niece, “ANTIGONE. Would you aught more/Than take my life whom you did catch? CREON. Not I; /Take that, take all. ANTIGONE. Then why do you delay?… ” (Sophocles 19). This adds anticipation to the audience since they all have their own family and relatives that they would look out for.
Sophocles puts the audience in Creon’s shoes and adds to the tragedy of Antigone’s death. Although family is a rather large topic that daily life revolves around, religious beliefs also connect the audience to Antigone and Polynieces. Using religion, Sophocles reels the audience in using a topic that they feel strongly towards. Antigone knew that burying the enemy was decreed illegal and punishable by death by her uncle, but did not hesitate in burying her brother. CREON. And you made free to overstep my law? ANTIGONE.
Because it was not Zeus who ordered it, /Nor Justice, dweller with the Nether Gods, /Gave such a law to men; nor did I deem/ Your ordinance of so much binding force that a mortal man could overbear/ The unchangeable unwritten code of Heaven ;/This is not of today and yesterday,/ But lives forever, having origin/ Whence no man knows:…(Sophocles 18). Antigone believed in this religion so strongly that she would rather sacrifice herself and be seen as a martyr for giving her brother the proper burial than to do nothing. “To her imagination the dismal Hades of her people glows with brightness of the
Christian heaven…”(DeWitt 1). Sophocles made Antigone’s religious outlook vital to her reasoning, and since religion was such an important part of everyday life, the audience could connect with her. When combined with family, religion makes Antigone exciting, stirring, and an according tragedy. Family and religion are the most active contributing factors to Sophocles’ Antigone. With both contributing to each other, together they make a powerful tool for bringing the audience closer to the characters. “CREON. O God ‘tis hard! /But I quit heart, and yield; I cannot fight/at odds with destiny. ”(Sophocles 41).
The audience automatically makes connections between themselves and the characters, and when the play revolves around the issue of family and religion, the characters are even more relatable. Sophocles central focus on family and religion makes Antigone a more touching tragedy given that it connects to the audience more than Oedipus Rex. Using religion and internal family affairs, Sophocles made the relationship between the two main characters have more conflicting emotions and more excitement. Antigone’s religious views in opposition to Creon’s law tore the family apart killing Antigone, Haemon, and Eurydice.
Antigone would be less of a tragedy if Antigone had not been close to Creon and had not been engaged to Haemon. Sophocles cleverly emphasized the role of family in the play, and turned Antigone into an exciting tragedy with overwhelming drama. Works Cited: Sophocles. Antigone. New York: Dover Publications, 1993. Print. Dewitt, Norman W. “Character and Plot in the Antigone. ” Classical Journey 12. 6 (Mar. 1917): 393-396. Rpt. In classical and Medieval Literature Criticism. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 80. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resource Center. Web. 20. Sep. 2012.