All true Greek tragedies were written using the same basic set of characteristics. One such characteristic was that all the characters were of nobility. This was to ensure that their fall from grace would be greater to those watching the play in action. Another characteristic of all Greek tragedies is that they were written in poetic form, as this was the style of writing at the time. There were also always almost constant references to the gods and to matters of fate. And it was the ever-present chorus who made a great deal of these references.
One of the most important characteristics of the Greek tragedy was that the hero of the play always had a fatal flaw which proved not only to be their downfall but the cause of destruction of all those around them. Sophocles play "Antigone" is a wonderful example of the Greek tragedy because it encompasses all these characteristics. The major characters in the play are all nobility in some form or another. Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and Io caste the former king and queen which makes her a princess (Scene 2, Lines 1-2) (Scene 4, Lines 36-44).
She is also the sister of Is mene (Prologue, Lines 1&7) which makes her a princess as well. The ruling king of Thebes at the time is King Creon (Prologue, Line 6). He has a wife Eurydice who is queen (Exodus, Line 25-26) and a son Haimon who is the prince (Exodus, Lines 64-68). The reason that the characters were all forms of nobility is to make their fall from grace and or powers seem even greater and harder for them to bear. This was designed to be uplifting to the common peoples of ancient Greece. Like other play that were written at this point in time Sophocles wrote his play "Antigone" in poetic form.
This can be seen in various places throughout the play (Parados, Line 1-7). And although some of its poetic form is lost in the translation of the play from ancient Greek to Modern English, it is still evident primarily when the chorus is explaining the passage of time (Scene 4, Lines 33-36). Or describing a battle to the audience (Parados, Lines 34-38). Antigone is also full of references to the gods and to fate (Exodus, Lines 3-6) and how it has affected specific character's lives. The chorus made a large amount of these references themselves, when talking about the gods (Ode 2, Lines 13-18) and to fate (Ode 2, Lines 25-28).
The leader of the chorus, who in this play is named Choragos (Scene 1, Lines 4-6) also, makes these references. Melissa Bernardo An ever-present part of all Greek plays was the chorus (Parados, Lines 1-7). The chorus served an elemental function as narrators, who helped with the passage of time in a play because "Antigone" like all other plays of its time lacks stage directions (Scene 4, Lines 33-36) as well. There is a leader of the chorus who is called Choragos. His character rules most of the interaction between the chorus and the characters in the play (Exodus, Lines 77 & 82) One final characteristic that makes Sophocles "Antigone" a perfect example of a Greek tragedy is that the hero of the play, which in this case is King Creon, possesses a fatal flaw that causes not only his own self destruction but the destruction of all those around him as well. King Creon's fatal flaw is hubris or excessive pride.
It is this pride that that proves to be his downfall. Creon is his rage over learning of his sons opposition to his stubbornness' and petty vindictiveness sentences the princess Antigone to death by walling her up alive in a tomb (Scene 3, Lines 142-151). Then after consulting with Tires as, the blind prophet, whose words strike fear into the hearts of not only Creon but also the people of Thebes as well (Scene 5, Lines 25-36), Creon reluctantly decides to free Antigone from her tomb. But arrives to find that Antigone has hanged herself (Exodus, Lines 57-60). And that his son Haimon has killed himself as well (Exodus, Lines 68-72).
Filled with grief upon hearing the news of her sons' death Creon wife Eurydice kills herself as well (Exodus, Lines 99-115). So in his foolish pride and reluctance to listen to reason King Creon ends up losing everything he holds dear to him. Sophocles play "Antigone" is a perfect example of the Greek tragedy because it contains all of the elements of a traditional Greek tragedy. Some of these elements are illustrated in that the play was written in poetic form. It has a chorus that interacted both with the characters onstage and with the audience watching the play, as well as helping with the passage of time in the play its self.
There were constant references made to the gods and fate, these references often having been made by the ever-present chorus. All of the major characters of the play were nobility thus making their fall from grace more powerful. And the main character of the play was guilty of hubris or excessive pride, which proved to be his fatal flaw and led to the destruction of the lives of those around him. Works Cited Sophocles.
"Antigone." An Introduction to Literature Editors - Barnet, et al. New York: Longman 2001 1010-1058.