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ANTIGONE WEBQUEST. An Introduction to Greek Tragedy. Welcome to the Antigone WebQuest!. Before beginning your exploration into the world of Antigone, you must first become acquainted with Sophocles and The Greek Theater. The following pages will provide you with the information you need.

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An Introduction to Greek Tragedy

Welcome to the Antigone WebQuest!

  • Before beginning your exploration into the world of Antigone, you must first become acquainted with Sophocles and The Greek Theater.

  • The following pages will provide you with the information you need.

Task 1

  • Take detailed notes of the following information pertaining to Greek Theater.

  • Notes will be collected and graded, so they need to be detailed.

The Greek Theater

Theater was a celebration in ancient Greece that was held in honor of Dionysos (the god of wine). During these celebrations, Athenians gathered to watch competitions between playwrights. It was these competitions that Sophocles often won. The plays performed at these festivals usually exposed arrogance which emphasized reverence for the gods and included tragic events. Although violence and disrespect were central to the plot of most tragic plays, violence was never depicted on stage. Instead, these events occurred off stage.


  • Tragedy is a work of literature that results in a catastrophe for the main character.

  • In Greek drama, the main character was always a significant person, a king or a hero, and the cause of the tragedy was a tragic flaw, or weakness in his or her character.

Typical Structure of a Tragedy

  • Ancient Greek playwrights used a consistent format for most of their productions.

  • A Chorus is used to divide the scenes (similar to how a curtain does in present day performances) through a song that comments on the action of the previous scene.

  • The Choragos is the leader of the chorus, and serves as another character in the play

  • The typical structure of a tragedy is as follows:

    • Prologue – exposition which provide background to the conflict

    • Parados or parode – Opening song or ode

      • Strophê – the chorus sings a stanza while moving from right to left while singing

      • Antistrophê - the chorus sings a stanza while moving from left to right while singing

      • Epode – included in some odes as a final stanza

    • Paean – a thanksgiving to Dionysos

    • Exodos – final exiting scene

Sophocles was born and raised in Athens

He is regarded as one of the world’s greatest playwrights.

He frequently won 1st place at the Dionysian festivals, which were competitions between playwrights.

Meet Sophocles(496-406 B.C.)

  • During his life, he wrote over 100 plays, but only 7 have


  • Among these 7 are: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at

    Colonus, and Antigone.

Now that you are familiar with Greek Tragedy, you are ready to begin your next task…

Task 2

  • You are a detective assigned to investigate the death of Antigone.

  • Before you can understand her death, you must first become aware of the circumstances surrounding her life.

  • Continue your notes as you obtain background information about Antigone’s family life, and the society in which she lived, by following the trail of clues linked to her death.

Task 2 Cont.-Detailed Instructions-

  • Write a well developed summary to explain who the person(s) are and the situation in which they were involved (at least 1-2 paragraphs for each of the links on the following pages):

    1. Oedipus’s Early Life

    2. Oedipus’s Exile 3. The death of Eteocles and Polyneices

Family Life – Antigone’s Dad

  • Antigone, is part of a trilogy about the royal family of Thebes. The trilogy includes; Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone

  • Follow the two links below to learn more about Antigone’s father, Oedipus:

    • Oedipus’s Early Life

    • Oedipus’s Exile

  • That was quite informative, but it was lacking something very important: the emotion, the pain, Oedipus’s experience of finding out the truth and of his self-inflicted punishment. Follow the steps below to acquire a better insight into what this was like for him:

  • Go get a gray literature book.

  • Turn to page 465 and find line 1354.

  • Read lines 1354-1406.

  • Write a brief (at least one paragraph) personal response to the excerpt.

  • We will discuss this passage as a class, so be prepared to share-out your thoughts, feelings, and questions.

A Tragedy between Brothers

  • As if the tragedy surrounding her father’s life and exile was not horrific enough, Antigone must now face the death of her brothers.

  • Click here to learn more about Eteocles and Polyneices

Task 3

  • Continue your notesto include each of the five elements listed pertaining to Greek Society.

  • Use appropriate headings for each section

  • Notes will be collected and graded, so they need to be detailed.

Greek Society

  • Religion

  • Government

  • Funeral Rites

  • Role of Women–only read “Introduction” and then scroll down to “Antigone” section— and then read some quotes about women in the time

  • Hubris and Hamartia– Find the definition

Use the information on the following pages to fill your STUDY GUIDE…Template provided by teacher.

Task 4

  • Title: Antigone

  • Author: Sophocles

  • Publication Date: 442 B.C

  • Setting: The city of Thebes – Ancient Greece

  • Genre: Drama/Tragedy

Task 5

Using information you’ve gathered thus far, create a FAMILY TREE for Antigone.

The family tree must include…

1) all relevant family members in her “dramatic” life

2) a description of each person (their role in the plays, defining characteristics, brief history, etc)

3) a key explaining connecting lines

ex. Direct relation

Married - - - - - -


4) Your personal creative touch!


  • You have just completed the Antigone WebQuest.

  • You are now ready to begin your reading of the play.

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