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Form and Structure - Antigone

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Introduction

Form and Structure Scenes in an Ancient Greek play were mostly formed chronologically. In "Antigone" the play follows a chronological progression but has sections where people talk about incidents of the past. Ancient Greek Plays followed a format of an opening scene, the episodes and then a closing scene. "Antigone" is in the literary genre of a tragedy: the story shows human downfall as the result of arrogance and leaves the audience thinking about the main points after the show has finished. Theatrical devices, which form the play, diversify as the play progresses: simplistic devices such as monologues grow into stichomythic exchanges. The monologues are the lines of a character speaks from a speech whilst stichomythia is two people, at a quick pace, engaging in an intellectual battle using words as their weapons. Sophocles used stichomythia to show tension and conflict of opinion which occurs regularly in the play. The Genre Greek tragedies evolved from the primary form of stories about mythology. These were often stories of the gods, real people or a mixture of both and were passed down by word of mouth through the generations. Playwrights formed plays by mixing such myths with contemporary issues. In "Antigone" the contemporary issue is the Peloponnesian war which is mixed with Hubris and its effects on man. ...read more.

Middle

" The chorus was seen as a secretive sect attached to a play: they were the wise elders who knew why characters were doing what they did. The chorus did not reveal their secrets often, so the audience was very attentive, trying to listen for a slip of valued words. One such occurrence is when Eurydices leaves to commit suicide. The chorus wonders aloud: "What could it mean? The woman's gone inside". The chorus knows why she has gone inside but they are prompting the audience to think about the significance of her action. Another interaction that the Chorus takes with characters is when they directly ask questions. For example the chorus asks Creon: "Are you really planning to kill both of them?" The chorus is doing two things here: questioning motives and attempting to clarify the ambiguity of the situation for the audience who cannot ask questions. The Chorus is wise as they have the ability to see both sides of an argument. In this way they act as ambassadors trying to be diplomatic in acknowledging the good points of each side. When Creon and Haemon are discussing the role of women (p 28 -31) the chorus pick out that Creon is very wise whilst they also acknowledge Haemon's good thinking. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was done to emphasize that sometimes people cannot conform to the norms of society and believe in their own ideas. Our play was structured, like "Antigone", mostly in chronological order with exceptions for referring to incidents which occurred in the past. The structure of our play was the only area where we deviated from the typical of "Antigone". The structure was modernised to satisfy the modern audience's need for a bit more action. We showed violence on the stage as we felt that this would keep the audience's attention. Our work related to "Antigone" in that the central character was stuck between abiding by the rules of the land and doing what she knew as right. However, our play was not submerged in the political unlike "Antigone". Our family were not in any way associated with a political ruling, but were only concerned about family reputation, a high importance to most families in the country. Therefore our character suffered mostly from personal conflict and not political conflict. Creating the play made me realise that Sophocles' form and structure for "Antigone" was ingenious. He obviously thought out everything thoroughly and devoted a lot of his time perfecting his plays. Our play was good mostly because it dealed with a taboo subject which is rarely discussed in the area. I think, however, that if our play was on any other subject we would not have been able to retain the audience's attention. ...read more.

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