Antigone is a tragedy by Sophocles that begins with the deaths of two brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices; their deaths are caused by their own swords in a struggle for the throne after their father, Oedipus, dies. Creon, the relative who takes up the throne allows for an honourable burial of Eteocles but denies Polyneices the same respect. He issues a decree that Polyneices’ body be dumped in the wild and no respect to be paid for it. Antigone, Polyneices and Eteocles’ sister, learns of the decree but goes ahead to bury her brother, Polyneices, despite the orders given by the king, Creon (Sophocles 4).
The decision lands her in trouble with the king of Thebe, Creon, who sentences her to death for defying his laws. Creon does this out of pride because he does not believe that anybody else can be right in the decision while he is wrong, a statement that was made by his own son, Haemon. Creon claimed that Haemon’s support was directed by emotions for he was Antigone’s fiancé. Antigone is arrested and locked away before her execution. However, she hangs herself and when Haemon comes and sees her, he kills himself by his sword. Upon his arrival, Creon comes to find his son and fiancé dead, all because he could not lay aside his pride (Butler 28).
The characters in this play are familiar. Antigone happens to be a continuation of Oedipus at Colonus. It continues from the part that Oedipus dies and his daughter learns about the news. A man-man struggle is evident in the way that protagonists and antagonists relate. There is a verbal battle between Creon and Antigone whereby Antigone blankly points out Creon’s weaknesses. A man-nature struggle is also evident whereby people such as Creone make their own rules whilst disregarding God’s laws concerning the issue. This aspect is also evident in the characters’ constant reference of human beings waiting to relate so that they can relate with their dead loved ones.
Arrangement of Antigone (Sophocles), according to Freytag’s Pyramid Freytag, is a drama play has four main parts (Brunetière and Jones 12). These parts include:The exposition
This is the introductory section of the play. It explains the content of the play in a summarized form and it is said to be the section that incites the incidents (Thomas). The exposition is captured in a conversation between two sisters, Antigone and Ismene. It is possible to gather the theme of the play from their conversation about the decree made by Creon, their relationship with the dead brothers and their stand regarding Creon. All the main characters of the play are also captured in this conversation. The conversation portrays the characters of these two sisters as well as all the people they mention.The Rising Action
The Rising Action is ushered in by an incident that is composed of a chronological account of events related to each other and builds up to the climax of a given play (Brunetière and Jones). The rising action is the most important section because it is here that the plot of the story is brought out. In the play “Antigone” by Sophocles, the rising action consists of a confrontation between Antigone and Creon. The confidence of Antigone is portrayed. Ismene is also arrested and brought before Creon, and he cannot believe that they could have gone against him. This is yet another of his weaknesses because he does not take opposition lightly as seen in his interactions with different people in the play.
It is during the rising action that people’s true characters are revealed. During the rising action, Creon discovers that he is not popular among his subjects, going by the comments they make concerning his judgement on Antigone. Several people including his own son come up against him.The Crisis
The crisis is the section in which the plot of the play unfolds, either in favour of the Protagonists or against them (Price 23). In this case, the rising action of “Antigone” is characterized by direct opposition from citizens considered to be inferior, women. Word also starts going round that the sentence passed on Antigone is unfair and should be reversed to be an award. Creon is irritated by these comments and declares that Antigone be locked away before her execution. The crisis brings out events that show that the stand of the protagonist is clear and the accompanying events that take place showing a difference in his interactions and perception by others.
The crisis also consists of the arrest of Ismene, Antigone’s sister for keeping her sister’s act secret. Found also is a sentry who seems to want the best for the king and gives him a word of wisdom on being logical in solving matters. The advice came after an argument between Creon and his son Haimon concerning the judgement passed on Antigone, Haimon’s fiancé. A prophecy was brought forth by the blind prophetess, Teiresias, warning him about his pride and the possible outcome of his behaviour. Creon is surprised by the sudden challenging attitude that the people around him express following his ill-advised judgment on Antigone. He also argues with his most obedient son. Creon is driven by his pride, and he does not heed to these warnings; the result is the suicide of Antigone and his fiancé. Creon arrives at the scene and cannot help it but blame himself for the incident.Falling action
After the climax, or crisis, the story gets to its turning point, and the eventuality of the protagonist changes. It could go in favour or against the protagonist depending on the kind of play being cast; a tragedy or a victory. For victory, the positive traits of the protagonists come out strongly whereas for a tragedy, his/ her weaknesses surface and lead to his/ her doom (Price 25). It is usually a moment of suspense in anticipation of the outcome of events. The pride of Creon does not earn him happiness. It results in the death of his son as well as that of Antigone.The resolution/catastrophe
In this section, the eventuality of the characters is determined. It is a part through which we get to know if the story was good or not. In this stage, the play is resolved by Creon acting guiltily of his deeds and his eventuality is loneliness.Conclusion
The play was easy to understand because it is possible to know Creon’s personality and the expected outcome of a character such as his. What especially impressed me is the unusual behaviour in the Roman Empire whereby women seldom conflicted with the law or leaders. Antigone, a maiden who was betrothed to Creon’s son, is a woman of untold confidence. She chose to defy Creon’s edict proclaiming that Eurydice’s body should be left for the dogs and vultures (Sophocles 4). She asks her sister, Ismene, to help her with a plan and, after her reluctance, Antigone tells her to stay out of her plan in all ways possible and proceeds to mourn her brother and pour soil on it. She also speaks wisely when in a dialogue with Creon. I find her daring in a way that not many people can be and the way that she directly condemns Creon’s action is interesting. Her choice of words is especially witty when addressing Creon. An example is whereby she openly tells him that what he views as wisdom is his weakness. Her bravery is unusual for a woman living in that era. She seems not to fear death and tells Creon to kill her as soon as possible because he would revel in her death considering that her action had bruised his pride.
Brunetière, Ferdinand and Henry Arthur Jones. The Law of Drama. New York: Nabu Press,
Butler, Judith. Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death. New York, NY : Columbia
Price, W. T. Techique of the Drama. New York: Kessinger Publishing Company, 1975. Print.
Sophocles. The Antigone. New York: Hard Press Editions, 2013. Print.
Thomas, Richard. Storyville: Dramatic Structure and Freytag's Triangle. 18 July 2013. Web. 14
April 2014 <http://litreactor.com/columns/storyville-dramatic-structure-and-freytags-triangle>.