Critical Lens       

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Date added: 17-09-19

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One may think it is unfair to try so hard to accomplish a goal, and in the end it seems that all their hard work and everything they lost paid off for nothing. David Mamet once said “…it is the human lot to try and fail... ” I agree with this quotation because it cannot be truer in my own life, as well as the tragedy Antigone by Sophocles in which two tragic heroes Creon and Antigone have to endure the pain of trying and failing. To the naked eye it may seem although Creon and Antigone are the complete opposite of one another, however Creon and Antigone are enduring the similar experiences throughout the play despite the despise they have for one another. Creon and Antigone both have the characteristics of tragic heroes but demonstrate those characteristics in different ways. Both Antigone and Creon have belief in their freedom, Antigone believes that her stature to decide what’s right should not be compromised because of the fact that she is a woman; While Creon believes he has the freedom to do whatever is necessary to assert his authority. Creon and Anitgone  exhibit extreme pride or “hubris” in which Creon believes that his power over rides the power of the gods and Antigone is willing to give up her own life just to ensure her pride that she would do whatever it takes to honor her brother. A sense of commitment is demonstrated when Creon is determined no matter what to carry out his punishment on Antigone, and Antigone is willing to withstand that punishment by Creon. Both characters exhibit a capacity for suffering or “pathos”. Antigone is willing to withstand the pain of killing herself when placed in a tomb. Creon does not feel any guilt when sending Antigone to her death in the tomb, however after Creon’s son, Haimon , kills himself Creon shows his vulnerability and that he does in fact have the capacity to suffer. A sense of vigorous protest is shown in both characters as well. Antigone feels betrayed because she carried out the will of the gods but was punished for carrying out the right thing to do, and believes that the gods and the senators of the government should have supported her in her time of great suffering. Creon blames his own weaknesses for the tragic death of his wife and son this exhibits the vigorous protest he has towards his past completed actions. Throughout the play a Transfiguration occurs in both Antigone and Creon in with purification or “catharsis” is exhibited within the character. By the time Antigone is being sent to her death her view starts to change in which she starts to question the power of the gods and why they did not help her and why she was robbed of the rest of life by not being able to have a family or grow old. Creon starts to question his own authority and whether or not he made a justifiable decision for the state as well as his own family. In both of these instances the character undergoes severe suffering which causes them to change their hearts and undergo purification and purges them of their original feelings. Literary elements consisting of irony and metaphors play a distant role in this play by Sophocles. Irony is found in the fate of Antigone when she is engaged to be married to her cousin, Haimon, but her engagement is ended with her being sentenced to death by her uncle and future father-in-law  Creon. The outfit she wears at the time of her death is described, dramatically and ironically, as her wedding dress “This search, at our despairing master's word, we went to make; and in the furthest part of the tomb we described her hanging by the neck, slung by a thread-wrought halter of fine linen: while he was embracing her with arms thrown around her waist, bewailing the loss of his bride who is with the dead, and his father's deeds, and his own ill-starred love”. Metaphors are also found in the play “Sirs, the vessel of our State, after being tossed on wild waves, hath once more been safely steadied by the gods: and ye, out of all the folk, have been called apart by my summons... ” Creon's speech contains a metaphor calling Thebes a ship of state and that a king and his citizens must put the state above all. In the lifes of Antigone and Creon in the play Antigone by Sophocles display hardships to the greatest extent, and it seems as though they fail at everything they try. David Mamet said “…it is the human lot to try and fail... ” though these characters may fail at their attempts in the play they give readers the power to gain pathos which provides insight to the true suffering in their lives.
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