In “Antigone” by Philip Harsh, the play Antigone by Sophocles is critisized. Many argue about the originality of the play. Scholars believe that a large portion of the play was made up by Sophocles instead of being reffered to the orginal epic. Characters such as Tiresies and Ismene are only found in Sophocles’s version. The role of Haemon is the most significant in relation to the changes made by Sophocles. When one refers to the epic one will find that this character dies prior to the death of Oedipus Rex. He must have done this to give a touch of romanticism between Antigone and Haemon.
Many Greek authors wrote their own versions of this play which brings more confusion to the actual story. The play was admired by many in the fifth century BC. When there was word of a performance of the play Antigone, every actor hoped to have a part in the production. The theme of this play is referred to by many as “a conflict between secular and divine law” (Harsh 103). This is challenged by philosophers of Greek studies. Greeks did not believe that Creon was a tyrant therefore disposing the idea of conflict. These might be concepts present through the play but these are only formed by the defense of Antigone’s point of view (Harsh 104).
It is obvious that suspense is present through the entire play. The outcome of this play could have gone either way, negative or positive. “The suspense is aided by the absence of an expository prologue” (Harsh 104). This is a characteristic of any Sophoclean play. Although this is a tragic play all to its true meaning, there are parts of humor. Some humorous scenes are those of the guards. The climax of the play seems to be the revelation of the betrothat of Antigone to Haemon (Harsh 105). This serves as a cue for Haemon. Two of the main characters, Antigone and Haemon, are never together in any scene.
Antigone is said to have not been a guilty party. She was only guilt of having a stubborn determination but this is the whole cause of the play. Creon believed that by her praising her deep her deed it only proves her guilt (Harsh 107). She was just like her father, Eodipus. After Antigone completes her deed, her attitude changes. She no longer maintains her determination. In the final speech made by Antigone in the last scene, she mentions that she would never had done this for her husband or child, this has puzzled many (Harsh 108). This is said to be a psychological and emotional response.
It is not unreasonable, therefore, to assume that these lines are genuine and that Antigone is sincere, but she might have actually performed such a deed for her child or her husband” (Harsh 109). Creon should not be considered the antagonist in this play. His case comes with good reason. He believes that Polyneices should be treated as one who has descrated the temple of the gods was only made due to his loyalty. Creon is similar to Antigone in that they both are determined. Some even belive Creon, and not Antigone, is the main character of the play.