Greek Tragedy. Aristotle’s definition. Aristotle defines tragedy as “the imitation of an action which is serious, complete, of a certain magnitude, couched in poetic language. It should be dramatic, with incidents arousing pity and fear, which bring about a purgation of these emotions.”
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Ismene – daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta
Creon – king of Thebes, uncle of Antigone and Ismene, brother of Jocasta
Haimon – Creon’s son, engaged to Antigone.
Eurydice – Creon’s wife
Teiresias – a blind prophet
Chorus – made up of about fifteen elders of Thebes
Choragus – leader of the Chorus
A Boy – who leads Teiresias
Scene: Before the palace of Creon, king of Thebes. A central double door and two side doors. A platform extends the length of the stage, and from this platform three steps lead down into the “orchestra,” or chorus-ground.
Time: Dawn of the day after the repuls of the Argive army from the assault of Thebes.Cast of Characters:
Analysis of Structure:Episodes and odes have strong relationships. Odes should emphasize the same mood as the episode that precedes it. They also have an underlying theme.Explain how each ode comments upon the action of the episode which precedes it.
Each character represents one side of the argument: individual conscience vs. established authority. On the left side, list three reasons why Antigone believes she must bury Polyneices. On the right side of the diagram, list three arguments Ismene uses to persuade Antigone that Polyneices must remain unburied.
1. Based on the arguments above, how would you describe each character’s personality?
2. With which character do you agree more? Why?
Do you sympathize with some characters and how they resolve internal conflicts, but not with others? Under each name, list an internal conflict with which that character struggles and write your reasons for supporting or disagreeing with the character’s resolution of that conflict.
Irony is the contrast or discrepancy between expectation and reality. In verbal irony a speaker says one thing but means the opposite. In situational irony what actually happens is the opposite of what is expected or appropriate. Dramatic irony occurs when the reader or the audience knows something or important that a character does not know.
Identify examples of irony in this scene.
Figurative language imaginatively describes one thing in terms of another. For example, Haimon says that his father is “in a public brawl of justice.” He does not literally mean that Creon and some person named Justice are trading blows. He uses the word brawl figuratively, to create a picture of Creon’s actions.
In the chart below, write a sentence or two describing each character with a figurative comparison.
Give one example of how figurative language is used in Scene 3 to create an image. Then discuss what the image conveys about a character’s action.
More on Irony. Use the chart below to illustrate the use of irony in the final scenes. For each line listed, summarize the ironic contrast. The first one has been completed for you as an example.
How does the use of irony enhance the argument that fate rules the lives of the characters?
“Marriages in ancient Greece were arranged by the parents of the intended bride and groom. A financial arrangement was made between the families in the form of a dowry. Girls married between the ages of fourteen to eighteen, while typically men married in their twenties or even thirties. Spartan men continued to live in the barracks, even after the wedding, until they reached the age of thirty when they could move home with their wives.”