For Sophocles' play Antigone, how do you create a plot diagram, including the rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution?

Expert Answers
Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When constructing a plot diagram, or analyzing a plot, it is easiest to start with the climax. The climax is the point in the story that the moment of crisis is the most intense (Literary Terms, Dr. Wheeler's Website). The crisis is the point at which readers do not know whether or not the protagonist will achieve his or her goal or if they will instead fail. Though some people treat climax and crisis synonymously, the crisis actually leads up to the climax (Literary Terms, Dr. Wheeler's Website).

In Sophocles' play Antigone, the moment of climax takes place when Antigone is caught by the guards and taken to Creon for burying her brother. Specifically, the climax takes place during the guard's speech in lines 459-440 in which he describes how Antigone was caught (Antigone, eNotes). This is also the moment of crisis because at this point we do not know how Creon will punish her. Will he condemn her to death? Or because she is family, will he show her empathy and spare her?

The rising action of a story, similar to the crisis, is what leads up to the climax(Rising Action, In Antigone the rising action is seen in the first scene with the dialogue between Antigone and her sister Ismene (Antigone, eNotes). The rising action is Antigone's decision to defy Creon's law and bury her brother.

The falling action in a story is what takes place after the climax that leads up to the story's resolution (Falling Action, The falling action of Antigone starts when Creon begins to be convinced by the soothsayer Teiresias that Creon was wrong in decreeing a law that breaks the laws of the gods. After this, Creon learns that Antigone has hanged herself in her tomb and witnesses his own son Haimon kill himself.

The play's resolution takes place after both Antigone and Haimon have committed suicide. When Creon sees Haimon kill himself, Creon finally sees that he was arrogant for decreeing a law above the gods' law, and he finally sees that the gods are punishing him for it.