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Sophocles tragic play Antigone written in 441 BC is a theatrical piece of drama in which an audience is compelled to empathize with its characters When empathizing with characters in Antigone the audience can in imaginative and cognitive ways participate in the understanding of a characters feelings ideas as well as their situations Antigone Creon and Ismene all struggle with decisions that concern the laws of their city and the cosmic law of religion and moral judgement Characters such as Haemon and Eurydice ultimately show the consequences of the decision formed by the two protagonists Amongst the audience empathy is created for both characters faced with agonizing decisions and characters inflicted with tormenting consequences The levels of empathy felt for each character changes as the story develops and as different qualities are revealed about each character The amount of empathy felt for a character effects not only the reading of that character but also the meaning of the play The first scene of the play involves Antigone asking her sister to go against the laws of the state to help her give the proper burial rites to their brother Polynices In the first scene there is an immediate sense of empathy felt towards Antigone as she express her feelings of misfortune to Ismene My own flesh and blood - dear sister dear Ismene how many griefs our father Oedipus handed down Do you know one I ask you one grief that Zeus will not perfect for the two of us p59 By introducing Antigone to the audience as the daughter of the Oedipus the empathy felt toward the tragic hero Oedipus is somewhat inherited by Antigone The audience reflects on the hardships that the incestuous family of Oedipus have already endured and realizes that the wretched fate of Oedipus is still bringing grief in to Antigones life This immediately gives the audience an insight into Antiognes personal feelings and gives the audience the opportunity
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