Irony Sophocles’s Story of Antigone

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Irony Kills

Irony plays a big part of Sophocles’s story of Antigone because they show character, suspense, human nature, and the world in general. There are three types of irony: verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony. These three types of irony are used by Sophocles to foreshadow the true colors of his characters, such as Antigone’s braviary and Creon’s pride; both Creon and Antigone had a tragic ending. Creon lost his whole family due to his pride of being king and Antigone’s braviary cost her death because she went against king Creon’s word to bury her brother. Irony is the killer of the Creon and Antigone.

Situational irony is used a lot in the Story of Antigone because it shows human nature and the nature of the world. Antigone has buried her brother and Creon has sentenced her to death for treason. Antigone is depressed and miserable, she is emotionally destroyed because she knows she is going to die. Antigone shows her emotion to the audience when she says, “I feel the loneliness of Niobe”(Scene 4, lines:15-16). Antigone relates to the story of Niobe because Niobe lost all of her kids and turned to stone. Everyone at the time this play was written knew the story behind Niobe and knew what she had lost. This is situational irony because Antigone can relate to Niobe because they both suffered because of a death. Niobe suffered because the death of her children turned her to stone and Antigone is suffering because she buried her brother and is being put to death from King Creon. Sophocles added this quote to show human nature and what will occur when deep depression happens. This relates to situational irony of human nature because death causes humans to be miserable and deppressed. Sophocles included situational irony into this play to show human nature, nature of the gods, or the word in general.

Verbal irony, also known as sarcasm; played a big part in the story of Antigone. Verbal irony was used in this quote because Antigone needed to her sister Ismene to go help her with the burial of Polyneices. Rebellious and exasperated, Antigone emotionally manipulates her sister when Ismene refuses to join Antigone in disobeying Creon by burying their slain brother. Antigone defiantly orders her to, “Go away… Leave me my foolish plan”(Emphasis added; prologue, lines: 77). Antigone says this quote to convince Ismene that she can’t do it by herself using the word “Foolish” this is verbal irony because Antigone is being sarcastic. This makes Ismene feel horrible and Antigone wanted her to feel bad so she would help her bury Polyneices. Sophocles made this quote to show that manipulation was made to Ismene to convince her to join in on her mission to bury Polyneices. Verbal irony is used by Antigone to manipulate Ismene for herself and her brother Polyneices.

The dramatic irony that Sophocles showed in his plays was used to build his characters in his stories. Ismene was the type of character that was paranoid and scared when Antigone told her that she was going to bury Polyneices because Ismene knew that if she did she would be executed. Afraid and fearful, Ismene is scared that she is going to lose Antigone because she is going to bury Polyneices by herself. Ismene tells Antigone that she should be, “Cold with fear”(Prologue, lines: 79). Ismene says this quote to Antigone but she doesn’t know how “Fiery” Antigone is about her unburied brother Polyneices. This is dramatic irony because this quote shows a lot about the two completely different characters Ismene and Antigone. It shows that Ismene’s character is scared, cowering and hopeless. The quote shows how Antigone is brave, religious and hot-headed. Sophocles made this quote to emotionally show the two different characters argue about what they think should happen to their dead brother. Dramatic irony is showed through this next quote because it shows the power and arrogance of Creon’s poor character. Disrespectful and arrogance, Creon tells all of Thebes that Eteocles died as a man should die defending his country, but , “Polyneices, I say, is to have no burial: no man is to touch him or say the least prayer for him”(Scene 1, lines: 43-44). Creon in this quote is showing his “Pride” by taking advantage of his throne to dictate whether or not someone should be buried or not. This shows Dramatic Irony because Creon is letting a body go unburied left to rot. Sophocles made this quote to show the arrogance that is behind Creon’s character throughout the whole story until the very end when he realizes he truly messed up. Dramatic irony was used mainly used in the story of Antigone for identifying characters.

Irony causes foreshadowing which also causes suspense. Foreshadowing and suspense is what Sophocles went for using the three ironies: verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony. The three ironies Sophocles used, caused foreshadowing of character, like Antigone’s stubbornness and Creon’s arrogance; both Creon and Antigone had a tragic ending. Creon lost his whole family due to his arrogance of being king and Antigone’s braviary cost her death because she went against king’s word to bury her brother. Irony is the killer of the Creon and Antigone.

Works Cited:

  1. Sophocles. Antigone. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless voices, Timeless themes: Platinum. Eds. Kate Kinsella et al. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. 772-808.
  2. Sophocles. Antigone. “I feel the loneliness of Niobe” (Scene 4: Lines:15-16). Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless voices, Timeless themes: Platinum. Eds. Kate Kinsella et al. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. 772-808.
  3. Sophocles. Antigone. “Go away… Leave me my foolish plan”(Emphasis added; prologue, lines: 77). Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless voices, Timeless themes: Platinum. Eds. Kate Kinsella et al. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. 772-808.
  4. Sophocles. Antigone. “Cold with fear”(Prologue, lines: 79). Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless voices, Timeless themes: Platinum. Eds. Kate Kinsella et al. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. 772-808.
  5. Sophocles. Antigone. “Polyneices, I say, is to have no burial: no man is to touch him or say the least prayer for him”(Scene 1, lines: 43-44). Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless voices, Timeless themes: Platinum. Eds. Kate Kinsella et al. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. 772-808.
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