Themes The Nature of Tragedy Halfway through the play, the Chorus appears on the scene to announce that the tragedy is on. His speech offers a meta-theatrical commentary on the nature of tragedy. Here, in apparently a reference to Jean Cocteau, tragedy appears as a machine in perfect order, a machine that proceeds automatically and has been ready since the beginning of time.
It has seemed to me worth while to show from the history of civilization just what war has done and has not done for the welfare of mankind. In the eighteenth century it was assumed that the primitive state of mankind was one of Arcadian peace, joy, and contentment.
In the nineteenth century the assumption went over to the other extreme — that the primitive state was one of universal warfare. This, like the former notion, is a great exaggeration. Man in the most primitive and uncivilized state known to us does not practice war all the time; he dreads it; he might rather be described as a peaceful animal.
Real warfare comes with the collisions of more developed societies. If we turn to facts about the least civilized men we find proofs that they are not warlike and do not practice war if they can help it. The Australians have no idea Note. Their fights do not lead to slaughter or spoils or other consequences of victory.
Quarrels between tribes are sometimes settled by a single combat between chiefs. They have no political organization, so there can be no war for power.
An Englishman who knew them well said that he knew of serious wounds, but he had known of but one death from their affrays. We are told Edition: Perhaps the converse would be true: We are not astonished to hear that they develop excessive tyranny and cruelty to those who are weaker than themselves, especially to women, and even to their mothers.
This is attributed in great part to head-hunting and cannibalism. In general they know the limits of their own territory and observe them, but they quarrel about women. In one case only had he heard of war for any other reason; three brothers, Barolongs, fought over one woman, and their tribe had remained divided, up to the time of writing, into three parties.
During his residence in the Bechuana country he never saw unarmed men strike each other. They quarrel with words, but generally both parties burst into a laugh and that ends it. A Spanish priest, writing an account, inof the Aurohuacos of Colombia, 5 says that they have no weapons of offense or defense.
If two quarrel they go out to a big rock or tree and each with his staff beats the rock or tree with vituperations. The one whose staff breaks first is the victor; then they embrace and return home as friends. Even our American Indians, who appear in Edition: Wampum strings and belts were associated with peace-pacts and with prayers for peace.
In contrast with these cases we find others of extreme warlikeness which account for the current idea that primitive men love war and practice it all the time. But if we examine the cases of peacefulness or unwarlike-hess which have been cited, we see that only two or three seem to present evidence of Arcadian peace and simplicity, such as, in the imagination of the eighteenth century philosophers, characterized men in a state of nature.
Probably if we had fuller knowledge these few instances would be much modified. What we see is that men have always quarreled. The cases which have been selected are some of them also those of people who have been defeated, broken, and cowed down.
Another set of examples consists of those in which abstinence from war is due to cowardice, and with it go the vices of cowardice — tyranny and cruelty to the weak. These cases are calculated to delight the hearts of the advocates of strenuosity.
What our testimonies have in common is this: When we undertake to talk about primitive society we should conceive of it as consisting of petty groups scattered separately over a great territory. I speak of groups because I want a term of the widest significance.One important symbol in Sophocles’ Antigone is the stone tomb to which Creon condemns her.
His decree ordered a punishment of death by stoning if any one buried Polynices’. When Creon learned that Antigone had buried her brother, he changed the sentenced to being buried alive in a stone tomb.
A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets.
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc. Facsimile PDF MB This is a facsimile or image-based PDF made from scans of the original book. Kindle KB This is an E-book formatted for Amazon Kindle devices. EBook PDF KB This.
Project Gutenberg Australia a treasure-trove of literature treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, 13th Edition. This title is currently unavailable on myPearsonStore.
We recommend Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, MLA Update Edition, 13th Edition as a replacement.
Antigone is a tragedy by Sophocles written in or before BC. It is the third of the three Theban plays chronologically, but was the first written. The play expands on the Theban legend that predated it and picks up where Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes ends. The main symbol is the stone tomb.
Other symbols are money and the characters Creon, Antigone, and Teiresias. The Stone Tomb for Creon. Creon refuses to bury Polyneices, but his sister, Antigone, buries him. Creon sets Antigone's punishment for burying Polyneices as being buried alive in a stone tomb.