According to Aristotle, “Tragedy [...] is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude.” As the plot of Antigone moves from Creon's refusal to bury Polynices to Polynices's eventual burial and Creon's repentance, the action of the play can be described as complete. The themes include human versus divine law, the nature of justice, what makes a ruler just, and the competing obligations towards city and family. These are obviously serious and of a certain magnitude.
The heroes of tragedy are characters who are greater than average people, often noble and powerful, who make major moral choices, something true of Antigone and Creon. Although the characters in the play are flawed, they are not figures of fun like those in comedy.
Finally, we feel fear and pity as we empathize with the suffering of characters who in their own ways are attempting to behave according to what they judge are their moral obligations.
In his Poetics , Aristotle discusses what he sees as...
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