Catharsis in Antigone Essay

In Sophocles' Antigone, a young princess is sentenced to death for burying her dead brother. The man who ordered her death was Thebes' ruler, Creon. For a tragedy to be a tragedy, according to Aristotle, the story must cause Catharsis, the production of pity and fear within someone's soul/heart. For this to occur, according to Aristotle, several characteristics should be present. One or more of the characters, should go from a good situation to a worse one (peropeteia), he/she must play a small part in their downfall (hamartia), and should go through the process of realization of suffering caused (anagnorisis). These characteristics will, according to Aristotle, produces pity and fear in the hearts of the watchers/readers. In Antigone, many believe that the character that has these characteristics is Antigone, Ismene, or any of the other "good guys."(The "good guys" are the people who defend or side with Antigone.) But a better character that shows these characteristics is actually the character many would less likely have guessed. In Antigone, by Sophocles, Creon fits Aristotle's idea of a Catharsis.


Thesis: In Antigone, by , Creon fits Aristotle's idea of a Catharsis.

Topic Sentence #1: In Antigone, Creon, ruler of Thebes, goes from a proud and mighty king to a man with suicidal tendencies. (Peripeteia)


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Creon is preaching on how he realizes what he did was wrong. "Whatever I touch goes wrong..." he says. A king tries to do everything right, and his touch is suppose to fix the wrong. He believed that by persecuting all those accused of treason, those who buried the body, would be the best for the kingdom. But for him to say what he said shows that he had fallen from the fixer upper king to the angel of death.

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Topic Sentence #2: Not only does Creon fit the peripereia part of Catharsis , he follows his natural urge to do what's right, which eventually leads to his downfall. (hamartia)


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