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Antigone 3 - piety I was called impious”(Sophocles...

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The Chorus displays pity, as defined by Aristotle’s On Rhetoric , towards Antigone in the Greek play, Antigone. Aristotle defines pity as “a certain pain at an apparently destructive or painful event happening to one who does not deserve it and which a person might expect himself or one of his own to suffer” (Aristotle 139). Antigone has been sentenced to death for her choice to honor her dead brother, Polyneices, with a proper burial, despite Creon’s declaration that such actions are illegal. Antigone explains her rationale for burying her brother “But when father and mother both were hidden in death no brother’s life would bloom for me again” (Sophocles 968-969). She cannot ever have another brother since both her mother and father are dead. She would give up her life had the same situation befallen her husband or her child. Moments before her death, Antigone still does not believe she is a criminal and should be punished, “For indeed because of
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Unformatted text preview: piety I was called impious” (Sophocles 980-981). The Chorus takes pity with Antigone. Both Creon’s son, Haemon, and Teiresias, the blind prophet, advise Creon to sympathize with Antigone’s position and renounce her punishment because it is in the best interest of the people of Thebes. Haemon attempts to persuade his father, “The city mourns for this girl; they think she is dying most wrongly and most undeservedly of all womankind, for the most glorious of acts” (Sophocles 747-749). Perhaps the people of Thebes feel pity towards Antigone because if they found themselves in her same position, they would have similar feelings and break a similar law. They fear their own future suffering and thus sympathize with her actions. Aristotle says, “People pity things happening to others insofar as they fear for themselves” (141)....
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