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Sophocles’ tragedys Antigone and Oedipus the King Essay

Antigone and Oedipus The King, written by Sophocles, are deeply tragic plays with a dramatic ending. In both plays, fate arises the question: could have Creon, Oedipus, Antigone, and the rest of the family, prevented the misfortunes, which fell upon them? Or were their lives cursed upon by determination? With every event that took place, the possibility of another occurrence was either higher or lower. One can see that every action brings upon an ironic outcome. Also, the deadly flaw of hubris can be recognized, though each character expressed it for different reasons. Antigone and Oedipus The King equally display the dramatic genre of a tragedy by combining, among all things, pride, death and punishment.

The willingness to ignore the truth, Brought forth the first sign of disaster towards Oedipus’ family. When Laius and Jocasta were told by the prophecy that their own son would be the cause of disaster in their lives, both tried to escape their predestined lives. The tragic irony emphasizes just how desperately Laius and Jocasta do not want to speak the obvious truth. Both their actions begin a tragic pattern for the rest of Oedipus The King and Antigone. With each event that occurs, another follows based on the actions of the character. In Oedipus, Oedipus thought that by going away from his “mother” and “father”, his chances of killing his father and marrying his mother would decrease. Instead, they increased. In Antigone, one can see this pattern as well. By Creon refusing to bury Polynices, Antigone, compelled by her pride, goes against Creon’s edict and buries her brother. This pattern arises from each person trying to challenge the others authority.

Many disastrous things happen to the people in both plays, Death being one of them. Nearly every character is killed in some way or another. Murder and suicide falls upon Oedipus’ family. Death arises from the fatal flaw…hubris, which the main protagonists of both plays possess. Oedipus, being the root of all disaster, is the most arrogant of all. Without knowing that he was the culprit of his father’s death, he condemns the murderer to ruin. With this, the reader can see how Sophocles uses dramatic irony, by using verbal irony. In Antigone, Antigone possesses the same flaw, except her pride is in the name of moral righteousness. When she goes against¬†Creon’s edict, she wanted Creon to know that she is not afraid of him. Again, one can see dramatic irony arise. Antigone is condemned to death for her actions. Creon too carries with him this fatal flaw. All of Creon’s actions, from his edict to the death of Antigone, are arrogant. Creon new authority transformed him into an overly proud person. Instead of death, Creon must live with the knowledge that he destroyed his immediate family, due to his pride.

In both plays, one can see how in the end, the antagonists recognize the harm they have caused, and decide to reside in pain and agony. Oedipus, after taunting Teiresias about being sightless, blinds himself. All along, Oedipus was the one without the ability to see things as they really were. Creon recognizes his flaws and in doing so, he reaches a greater level of understanding. Creon suffers because he defied the God’s, by issuing his edict. Antigone never reaches a level of understanding between her pride and love, Simply because her pride was not the cause of any immoral events. Although, Antigone does reveal the character flaws which Creon possessed. She brought out his insecurities and weaknesses, by testing his authority when she went against his edict.

The tragic plays Oedipus The King and Antigone, both incorporate fate to demonstrate how each action made by the characters brings forth disastrous outcomes. Every event was connected to a characters action. I.e.: When Oedipus’s parents gave in away, they increased the chances Oedipus would carry out his predestined life. Which was to murder his father and marry his mother. Sophocles’ use of dramatic irony, a suspenseful expectation, he implies that disaster will overcome the city of Thebes. This irony is persistent throughout Oedipus, because from the beginning the reader knows what Oedipus does not, that he is son of Laius and Jocasta. Etc… Hubris, the deadly flaw that lead Oedipus, Antigone and Creon to their ruin, steered them to act in outrageously.

One instance is when Oedipus, when looking for the murderer of his father. He disagreed with the prophecy. Antigone, when she attempted to bury her brother, and Creon whom by his very own edict, is brought to his ruin. Irony is included in almost every aspect of the plays. The long speeches that Oedipus makes, Antigones sentence to death in a cave,¬†and Creon’s entire existence. Both Oedipus The King and Antigone, I believe are the most tragic plays of all time. Sophocles creates certain effects that imply beforehand, the level of tragedy and drama, by connecting, among all things, arrogance, death and punishment.


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