Antigone is the (possibly) even more tragic than its prequel Oedipus. I said it is probably way more tragic, and dramatic than Oedipus because of the name. Agony - Antigone. They sound similar, so you can kind of infer that it will be pretty depressing.
To start off, Antigone is Oedipus' daughter. She is a stong and noble woman, who is one of the first of her kind in literature. She holds her values to the highest level, and doesn't let anyone change her mind on them. That being said, she lands into some pretty deep stuff because of this. Her brothers, Eteocles and Polynices both want the throne of Thebes, and end up killing each other in battle to try and gain it. Their uncle Creon takes the side of Eteocles and gives him a proper royal burial. He also decides to kill anyone who tries to bury the rotting Polynices. Antigone decides that this is not how she is going to let her brother be remembered, and tries to inlist their sister Ismene to help her bury their brother. However Ismene doesn't want to defy the king, and backs away from this offer. Antigone goes through with her beliefs and burries Polynices herslelf. After it is known that Antigone burried her brother, Creon orders her to starve to death in a cave because of her power. However, this leads to Creon and his son Haemon fighting as he takes Antigone's side. The blind prophet ends up coming to Creon and tells him that the gods will punish him for all of his actions, with this he changes his mind, although it is too late. Creon goes to let Antigone free and sees she has hanged herself, and in heartbreak, Haemon killed himself. When Creon's wife heard the news she killed herself as well.
So lots of killing, death count: 5. Totally beats Odeipus. This play was much more tragic than Oedipus in my mind, (just not a juicey as killing you dad and sleeping with you mom.) Almost everything action, and word was tragic. A whole family died, leaving just two living behind. They all killed each other in a way, not always intentionally. This goes to show that characters in tragedies never know the other side of the story, and make "choices" based only on what they see infront of them. They never think about the consequences of what might happen to their loved ones, and that usually ends in death. Characters in tragedies also don't make their own choices. Everything they do must lead to the prophecy given to them, even if they are tyring to change that direction. This story is the perfect example of a tragedy, everything fell together to end with the most depressing outcome possible.
Dan Ariely's main idea in this video is that even though we feel that we are making our own decisions, we don't actually have as much control over them as we think. He explains how most of the decisions we "make" are made for us, due to how the situation in is presented. There are illusions all around us, which are based on our previous choices, which then influence the next decision we make. To show how accurate this is, here is the example Ariely gave in the TED Talk:
The amount of organ donors was calculated in Europe, the left are countries that have a low percentage of donors, and the right are countries with a high percentage of people participating. Now the question is why is there such a big difference, why do some countries have a lot of donors and others have very little? Ariely explains that the gap isn't the difference in culture, as the countries with similar backgrounds exhibit different statistics, (Germany is on the left and Austria is on the right). But that the gap it created due to how the question is written on the from at the DMV. The countries on the left have a form saying, "Check the box below if you want to participate in the organ donor program." So "they don't check, and they don't join." The countries on the right have a form saying "Check the box below if you don't want to participate in the organ donor program." People see this and they don't check, but they join. He uses this example to further explain what I previously said in the first paragraph.
This idea relates really well to tragedies, more specifically to Oedipus. Ariely is saying that our future is, for the most part already decided, and that even if we want to change this it will likely still end the same way. This is what happened to Oedipus, he tried to change the prophecy by making his "own" decisions, but ended up with the same outcome he was trying to avoid. I think that this is what happens in tragedies a lot, when a character is trying to escape a certain fate, but ends up with the same out come because the decisions were already set in place.
This TED Talk changed how I see the final outcome of a characters life, and the decisions leading up to it. It showed me that the decisions the characters make are all for a certain reason, and not just because the author wrote it that way. It also showed me that we experience this limitation in real life as well because we make decisions based off of a previous one, and the illusions that present themselves. Overall, it was an eye opening video. It was very interestin to hear and see examples of how our brains interpret things so differently with such small changes. It helped to further my thoughts about the decisions I make in my everyday life. I also feel that it will help me to think more deeply about the characters in tragedies.
Honestly, I was excited to read this story and see how everything was going to unfold. I figured this one would be juicy, given Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother, so I wanted to see how he justified everything. I love stories that have crazy, sometimes uncomfortable plots like this one. But I guess that is the point of tragedy right? And with my longing to hear how stories like this unfold, I fit right into its intended audience. Let's look at how this fits the bill of a tragedy.
To begin, Oedipus brings about his own suffering in this tragedy, although not intentionally. When he was young, it was prophesied that he would kill his father, and marry his mother. To avoid this, Oedipus runs off, not knowing his real parents gave him up because of this same fear. While he is away, he ends up killing a man he finds on the road. This man ends up being the king of Thebes, Laius, and ends up marrying his wife Jocasta,. Although nobody knew any of this information at the time. As time goes on, Oedipus, the (new) King of Thebes, finds out the only way to lift the curse set upon the town is to find the killer of the previous king. This sets Oedipus on a quest that will tell him more than he ever expected to know. He eventually finds a blind prophet who tells him that he was in fact the one who killed Laius. This snowballs, and everything comes to light. Jocasta, and Laius are Oedipus' real parents. In all of his efforts to avoid the prophecy, Oedipus ran himself right in the center of it.
The ending shows the true tragedy in all of this. Once the truth is out Jocasta hangs herself. She does this out of shame for being with her son, and grief for what once was. When Oedipus finds her, he gouges his own eyes out to punish himself for what he had done.
This is all very tragic, and unfortunately was all caused by mistake. Although that is one element of a tragedy. The worst things happen by mistake, all because the main character didn't see or understand the other side of the story. Oedipus was blind to the truth, and in the end literally blinded himself for what he had done. I think that this story is a good example of what a tragedy truly is, mistakes, misunderstandings, poor judgement, and lessons. Sophocles portrayed all of these things in Oedipus, and made it a truly interesting story along the way.
Arthur Miller makes some good points in his article Tragedy and the Common Man. His main argument is that tragedy is only for the upper, or lower class. "For one reason or another, we are often held to be below tragedy--or tragedy above us." He goes on to explain that in most tragedies, the character(s) are trying to "gain his "rightful" position in his society." To add to this, the character usually has a personality flaw that gets in the way of making good decisions. This character is usually brought upon the character themselves, for example; the "unwillingness to remain passive".
This article didn't necessarily change my views of tragedy, however it did help to clarify, things, and help me see another side of it. It showed me that every tragedy I have read, has the same type of self destructive characters, and a similar scenario. Every character in a tragedy is self destructive whether they realize it or not. They make stupid decisions, and don't account for their future or what the outcome could be. There is a pattern that I never realized was there, and I think that this article really shows that as a fact for every tragedy. Looking back on all of the tragedies I have read in the past, this pulls everything together. There is a formula for writing tragedies, the characters aren't always being stupid just because the writer wanted them to, they are supposed to be obsessive over minor things. They are supposed to be just a little bit insane, and blind to what the other characters are doing, causing poor decision making.
I like this article a lot, it helped me see the other side of writing a tragedy, and that every single one is particularly put together. This article was helpful in exploring all of the different aspects of a tragedy, and showing how they are all similar, and connected in a way.
In his TED Talk, Alain De Botton right off the bat, explains that we as humans have an idea of our individual lives. We picture how our career is going to be, how our family will act, how much money we will make, and so on. Until our visions of the future come in contact with reality, and anxiety about our lives becomes overwhelming. An example of a real world experience according to De Botton is getting asked the question, "What do you do?". Being unsure of your life or feeling lesser than the person to you right, can cause depression and severe anxiety, which in a way is a tragedy having to do with one's emotional self.
Our society has also put pressure on doing anything you want and as much as you can in your life time. There is no limit to what you can do with your life, which puts pressure on everyone to rise up and be better than the best. With this, Botton brings up that envy is a big issue, "everybody is the same and yet they are not... the spirit of equality, combined with deep inequalities which makes for a very stressful situation". In our meritocratic society, we feel that if someone doesn't get to the top, they are losers and they deserve to be there. This means we are in the "driver's seat" of our lives, which puts terrible stress and anxiety on the people on the bottom.
De Botton goes on to talk about how tragedy is different, and can be looked at in new ways by everyone. His example of this is a local tabloid making up crazy headers for stories that don't matter, or that aren't as bad as the header reads. As a society, we make up tragedies, and place tragedies on other people. We cause our own, and each other's tragedies, but that is just how our society works now.
Tragedy, to me is having something unexpected, and horrible happen to you. It is something that harms you or a loved one that you can't control. Examples of what I personally believe to be tragic are; a terrible car accident, an unexpected family emergency, or cancer. These are a few things that I consider to be tragic. Tragedies are things that you can not control. Either during the event or the outcome of it. It isn't something that people want to have happen, or wish upon themselves or others. However this is just my view of a tragedy, which makes me think, what is a tragedy? Where do tragedies come from?
According to Wikipedia, the origins of tragedy stem from ancient Greece. It was a form of drama - human suffering, isn't that nice?- which gave the viewers pleasure. Since it is from ancient Greece, all of the famous philosophers we hear about (Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, and more) have analyzed, criticized and worked on this genre. So a tragedy is a little off of what my view of it was. It is the enjoyment of watching other people have terrible things happen to them.
Another version of tragedy is known as "tragedy of the commons." It is where an individual in a shared resource system, behaves contrary to the whole group to deplete or harm the resources they share. This is seen in many of the things humans do without really realizing it. We fish excessively, which depletes the amount of fish in our lakes and oceans. We don't take care of the environment as well was we could, which leads to global warming. It is also shown in politics, taxation, and other things.
These topics are interesting to me. I have never thought of a tragedy in these ways before. I have always been under the impression that a tragedy is a real event that harms a person, so it was surprising to me to in out that tragedies started as a drama for people to enjoy. I also thought it was interesting that a tragedy can happen to a large group of people, because of the decisions of one person. To go with that idea, it made me realize that humans do that on a daily basis, whether we notice it or not. Overall this opened my eyes to tragedies, and I am excited to work on them more in class.