Copyright

Catharsis in Antigone

Catharsis in Antigone
Coming up next: Gender Roles in Antigone

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 Catharsis
  • 0:53 The Plot of ''Antigone''
  • 2:15 The Characters
  • 4:00 Analysis
  • 5:12 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Carnevale

Jennifer has a dual master's in English literature/teaching and is currently a high school English teacher. She teaches college classes on the side.

Reality can be stressful, and releasing negativity can be difficult. In ancient Greece, tragic plays were said to aid in this relief process. In this lesson, we'll analyze the concept of this release called catharsis and connect it to the play ''Antigone''.

Catharsis

Stressful day or week? Sometimes we just need a good cry session to let it all out. Aristotle thought so too when it came to the arts. He talked about the concept of catharsis that takes place when an audience watches a tragedy. From the Greek, this word means purging, cleansing, and/or purification. The process occurs when the events of a play provoke emotions such as fear or pity in the audience members. In turn, the audience members releases these negative emotions in connection to their own lives, leaving them feeling revived.

The play Antigone is a perfect example of the tragedies which Aristotle referenced. Let's go on the emotional journey of the characters in the play and explore the concept of catharsis in connection to Sophocles' work.

The Plot of Antigone

Before the play begins, the reader is given background information pertaining to a battle fought between two brothers, Polyneices and Eteocles. Their father exiled himself from Thebes and left the brothers to share the throne. When it was Polyneices' turn to rule, Eteocles refused to relent his power, forcing Polyneices to leave the city. He eventually came back with an army, and both sides were destroyed. Polyneices and Eteocles died in battle, leaving their sisters Antigone and Ismene to carry on their bloodline. Since women were unable to hold power, their uncle Creon took the throne.

Creon sided with Eteocles and felt Polyneices was a traitor since he fought against his city, a big no-no in Greek culture. Creon ordered that Polyneices' body should rot where it lay and not be buried, another big cultural no-no in ancient Greece. Creon declared that if anyone buried the body, that person would be killed. In the Prologue, Antigone is furious with her uncle, feeling she must honor her brother and the gods by burying the body. Not doing so would make Polyneices' soul unable to get to the Underworld. This is where the story begins, and conflict ensues.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support