HUMA 1825 Lecture Notes - Haemon, Polynices, Ismene

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Published on 19 Sep 2012
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HUMA 1825 Note 2
- Tragedy is defined by moral rights and moral wrongs
- Tragic heroes must suffer: their suffering is result of their arrogance and
inflexibility. They realize their wrongs when it’s too late
- Laius and Jocosta begin the family. They give birth to Oedipus. He then
unwittingly kills his father and marries his mother. They give birth to four
children: Antigone, Ismene, Polynices, and Eteocles. Creon is married to
Eurodycies. Two sons. Haemon lives and is to be married to Antigone.
- The play begins with the fallout of civil war. Oedipus leaves Thebes in exile.
Antigone leaves. The two sons stay and want to share in rule. The brothers
then twiglet with one another. There can only be one king. Civil war. Eteocles
wins. Polynices is sent to exile. Argos allies him. He plans to sack city, and lay
claim for himself. Oedipus’ curse comes to fruition because brother kills
brother. Creon takes throne. First thing he does is; make a law: no burying
traitors.
- This is how traitors will be treated here (Thebes). This is only part of the
message. Sympathizers (those who would oppose this law, and might be
tempted to bury the body) will be punished by death.
- Play opens with Antigone and Ismene discussion. Her name translates into
Anti-Birth. She remains defiant; she’s convinced that the law is an unjust one.
She is set to bury her brother. Her sister strongly disagrees. This is the first of
many ethically and moral conflicts: between two sisters. At least from them,
what have we learned (the children of Oedipus) form the various tragedies
that have fallen upon our family? What lessons can we take from that
tragedy? Oedipus is a puzzle solver who couldn’t solve his identity because
until it was too late. The next tragedy was the death of two brothers. Ismene
now thinks they should act reasonably. She defends her position first by
ridiculing her sister’s want of the impossible. She attempts to be both noble
and cautious. Greeks can’t have it both ways. She attacks Antigone as a way of
justifying her own uncertainty in taking a stand in the unjust law that has
affected her family. On the other hand, Antigone is defiant and her world is
black and white: with or against. Antigone defies the law and sets into motion
her fate. She’s accepting of consequences: civil disobedience.
- The sentry presents the news to Creon. Conflict and Creon’s awareness of
bad choice. He attempts to convince himself that a rebel or mercenary has
broken the law for financial gain. Money, must be the motive. The only
reason someone would defy this law, is because they were driven to
corruption through money. Money corrupts. Money, not reason, makes
people do ennoble acts. Money is the base motivation for criminal or wrong
doings. Creon resorts to money as being the motivation because he cannot
entertain the idea that the intention behind the unlawful act may be noble.
Maybe it’s questioning the morality and justice of his own law. This makes
him jump to the conclusion money. His niece is the outlaw in question. She
finds pride in it. She’s locked up with Ismene. Her first defense for herself is
that she appeals to an egalitarian sense of justice: says the dead irrespective
of their actions in life are all equal and should be treated as such. Passage of
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Document Summary

Tragedy is defined by moral rights and moral wrongs. Tragic heroes must suffer: their suffering is result of their arrogance and inflexibility. They realize their wrongs when it"s too late. He then unwittingly kills his father and marries his mother. They give birth to four children: antigone, ismene, polynices, and eteocles. Haemon lives and is to be married to antigone. The play begins with the fallout of civil war. The two sons stay and want to share in rule. He plans to sack city, and lay claim for himself. Oedipus" curse comes to fruition because brother kills brother. First thing he does is; make a law: no burying traitors. This is how traitors will be treated here (thebes). Sympathizers (those who would oppose this law, and might be tempted to bury the body) will be punished by death. Play opens with antigone and ismene discussion. She remains defiant; she"s convinced that the law is an unjust one.

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