As stated by Sophocles in Antigone, “Numberless are the world’s wonders, but none More wonderful than man” (Ode 1 1-2). Landscapes like the grand canyon, the wide expanse of oceans, weather, tall mountains are all magnificent features, but none as great as Man. Man is the only thing in this world, that has free will to think about anything or do anything whenever they want to. If one wants to dance, he or she is free to do so, if one wants to sing he or she can do so. Man can also feel emotions such as happiness, sadness, or even confusion. The purging of emotions in reaction to something especially tragedies or music is known as a catharsis. In Antigone by Sophocles, the audience experiences a catharsis for a variety of characters. Although their actions may seem overly dramatic due to the trivial matters that they stress about, Antigone, Creon, and Haemon provide for a catharsis through their tone during the situations they undergo.
Antigone’s pitiful situation of standing alone against a strong king causes the audience to feel pity for her. As she faces her consequences for performing the “crime” of burying her brother, Antigone to all who are able to hear her, “Be witnesses for me, denied all pity, Unjustly judged!” (IV 29-30). Due to everyone’s fear of Creon, Antigone must stand alone with no one to help her and constantly face harassment for performing the traditions of her culture. The exclamation point reveals that her tone is one of anger and frustration as she knows that she is right, but her opinions are outnumbered by the fearful subjects of Creon.
Catharsis Analysis Essay Example
Antigone’s death is more than imminent. The audience sides with Antigone in compassion for Antigone is in a situation where hope is nonexistant. Antigone’s lack of help leads to the stark punishment of rotting in a tomb until her own death. In a situation where the life has no meaning, Antigone takes her own life and is later discovered by the messenger who reports the news to the Choragus. The messenger states that “We saw her lying: She had made a noose of her fine linen viel” (Exodus 58-60) proving the stress that Antigone had to go through while facing Creon alone.
The bare situation that Antigone is in calls for a purge of emotions from the audience. Her suicide states that she did not want to deal with her life anymore to such an extent that it would be better if she killed herself rather than take her chances. The tone of the moment when the messenger described the scene was one of melancholy and grief for everyone knew exactly what she went through and why. The helplessness of Antigone calls for sympathy from the readers.
Haemon is another character who calls for a release of emotions by the audience. As Haemon learns of Antigone’s rising conflict with Creon over the burial of Polyneicies, Haemon confronts Creon by stating “I am your son, Father. You are my guide. You make things clear for me, and I obey you. No marriage means more to me than your continuing wisdom” (III 8-10). Haemon is engaged to Antigone, but now knowing that Creon craves for her death of, Haemon chooses to submit to his father’s desires. Haemon gives up his marriage due to his father revealing the love and loyalty Haemon has for his father. The audience lays compassion on Haemon in such a situation where his loyalty to his father costs him the love of his life.
Later on in the story, the messenger comes with grave news to the Choragus which is revealed to be that “Haemon is dead; and the hand that killed him Is his own hand” (Exodus 19-20). Haemon’s enormous love for Antigone convinced him that without her he cannot leave providing a cheese movie romance that people crave. The desire for people of our day to have a love like this influences the audience to feel compassion for Haemon who died a loving man. Much like Romeo and Juliet, the two star-crossed lovers eventually meet their end due to the love for each other. The audience can only feel sorry for two lovers like this. In the end, Haemon’s situations and tone cause a purge of emotions to arise in the audience.
Although Creon is seen as a villain throughout most of the story, Creon’s experiences influence the audience to experience emotions of compassion towards him. After the death of Haemon, Creon’s son, Creon states that his “own blind heart has brought me From darkness to final darkness. Here you see The father murdering, the murdered son–” (Exodus 87-90). Creon causes the death of his own son due to his role in causing the suicide of Antigone. Instead of acting as a father, Creon treated Haemon as any other subject who must obey his command and pays the consequences for doing so. Also, the diction Creon uses such as “blind” and “darkness” suggest a dark tone where hope or happiness are unable to exist. The dark tone full of grief causes a catharsis due to the fact that Creon is going through extreme sadness.
Shortly after the death of his own son, Creon learns of the death of his wife leaving him with nothing, but the crown he proudly held. In reaction, Creon exclaims “Let it come; Let death come quickly and be kind to me. I would not ever see the sun again” revealing the loss of hope in himself(Exodus 127-129). Creon, like Antigone, no longer wishes to go through the pain he experiences and wishes to be dead. Adding on, Creon’s tone is one of melancholy as evident by his use of “death” coming quickly to him. As a king, Creon can do nothing but live through this pain. To leave his kingdom would equally harm the people just as the deaths of his family harmed him. Despite starting as a villain, Creon was able to learn his lesson, but at a certain price and the audience pities him for losing so much. Creon’s losses provide a catharsis for the audience.
The complexity of man stands as a wonder to many. The emotions that one may feel are massive in variety. Antigone, Creon, and Haemon cause a catharsis to arise within the audience’s thoughts. Some people can even relate to the situations allowing for a better connection and catharsis. The helpless situations that these characters experience and the tones that they portray push the audience to feel bad for these characters. The complexion found in man is yet to be fully understood and man’s potential measured. The question why we care for others in a world where survival of the fittest started as the first theory or the question of emotions and how they work are shrouded with mystery.