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Karly Hall September 30, 2002 Period 3 Antigone Essay In any story or piece of literature, there will always be the main characters to fill the pages with incessant adventure. The characters whose names appear on almost every page and the characters whose actions the story revolves around. However, a story will also always have its minor characters. These are the characters that contribute heavily to the plot, yet aren't mentioned quite as often and are underestimated regarding their importance in the story. In the Greek masterpiece, Antigone, the author Sophocles construed a myriad of minor characters that contributed to the story in numerous ways. Ismene, one of Oedipus' daughters, was created to foil the main character, Antigone. Haemon, the son of Creon, took the role of adding controversy and showing his father revenge for all the trouble he caused Thebes. And finally, Tiresias, an elderly blind prophet, was constructed to diminish Creon's hubris. Firstly, Ismene's character was created primarily to foil that of Antigone's. When Antigone initially discussed her plans to contest the King's orders, Ismene was against it and tried to argue with her sister, hoping to dispel the plan from her mind. In lines 71-74, Ismene states during her argument, "...think what a death we'll die, the worst of all if we violate the laws and override the fixed decree of the throne, it's power- we must be sensible."
Astonishingly, Haemon stands his ground through out the entire argument, despite his father branding Antigone to be nothing better than a criminal. Haemon's notions were critical to the story because they explained how deeply he felt for Antigone. If he had sided with his father and didn't believe that he was mistaken then Creon would never have realized just how wrong he was in making the law against burying Polynices. Haemon becoming a part of the story was also essential because the quarrel between the father and son was vital to explaining the death of his feelings. Their dispute was basically setting the stage for what was next to come, Haemon's death. If Haemon's adoration for Antigone had not been justified or elucidated before his death, then it would have seemed irrational and peculiar for him to take his own life. The author used the fight to prevent questioning of Haemon's death, later in the story. Another important role Haemon took in the story was commiting suicide. By killing himself in the end, he was not only proving his love for Antigone, he was also punishing his father. In lines 1358- 1364, a messenger explains his first hand account of Haemon's tragic death.
The role Sophocles gave to Tiresias was to bring Creon back to reality and save him from his own hubris. Since Tiresias was an esteemed prophet, his personality was perfect for convincing Creon. His approach was effective and his character's attributes were also beneficial. In conclusion, drawing the line between minor and major characters in a story should only come down to one thing, if everything in the story revolves around them, then they must be a major character. There are several roles that an author creates for every story; each role or personality fits together like a puzzle. For example, without those blank sky pieces that fit at the top of a puzzle, it can never be completed. Same rule applies to any story, without the minor characters to reveal hidden information or to simple add drama, then a story can never be completed. In the Greek tragedy, Antigone, the author, Sophocles, presents the minor characters in his story with important functions and responsibilities. Ismene, Antigone's sister, had the purpose of foiling Antigone in order to create undeclared confliction between the characters. Haemon, Antigone's fiancée, was meant to bring justification to the string of deaths at the end of the story. And lastly, Tiresias, the respected prophet, was carefully produced as the character who pushed Creon's conscious over the edge and influenced him the most to withdraw his punishment for Antigone.
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