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Antigone. Sophocles. Background Info. The “seven against Thebes”: mythical war between Eteocles and Polynices both were given rule of Thebes after E. ruled would not let P. rule-banished him P. came back later battled each other and both died

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background info
Background Info.
  • The “seven against Thebes”:
    • mythical war between Eteocles and Polynices
    • both were given rule of Thebes after E. ruled would not let P. rule-banished him
    • P. came back later battled each other and both died
  • 4 children of Oed. : Polynices, Eteocles, Antigone, Ismene
  • “haemon” means “blood” in Greek:
    • name of Antigone’s husband,
    • theme of blood relative,
    • Creon’s belief that personal be submerged under the state-leads to blood
  • Antigone, Ismene
  • Reveals
    • death of both brothers
    • Both daughter’s sadness concerning father
    • Antigone’s plot to bury Polynices
    • Ismene’s rational thought and A. stubborn righteousness
    • Ismene makes it known that she will not join A. in her disobedience

Focus: How has Sophocles characterized each of these sisters as foils? To what purpose?

  • Invocation to Zeus
  • Explanation of the “Seven at Thebes”
  • Explains that Creon is now in power due to Oed. fate
episode 1
Episode 1
  • Creon, Senator, Sentinel
  • C. explains that he now takes power ever since the “mutual fratricide”(8)
  • Discover C. ruling policy and how much respect he has for the land and it’s citizens
  • Explains his decree that Polynices should not be buried due to his banishment by Eteocles, and P. subsequent dishonoring of the land
  • Senator agrees with C.
  • Sentinel makes C. aware that someone ahs buried P. And that he was made to come and tell the bad news
  • C. reacts in anger when Senator says it is supernatural: “Truce to your speech, before I choke with rage…”(11)
  • C. states that offender must be put to death
stasium 1
Stasium 1
  • Chorus explain that C. is “Wrestling his country’s laws to his own will” (15)
  • Chorus laments A.’s fate and makes the audience aware that she has been captured
episode 2 sentinel creon antigone ismene senator
Episode 2: Sentinel, Creon, Antigone, Ismene, Senator
  • Sentinel explains how they caught A. after a hurricane, “shrieking” as she sees the body uncovered
  • A. stands stubborn and “den[ies] it not”(17)
  • A. retorts that it was not Zeus’s decree, only C. and the state, and therefore she feels justified by the “…unwritten code of Heaven”(19)
  • C. asks her if she felt the same honor for her other dead bro. who was slain by P.
  • A. states that all are honorable in the underworld as it should be, “…The dead clay makes no protest” (20)
  • C. is angered at woman trying to disobey him and orders her death: “…if you must love, [love] the dead! No woman…shall order me” (20)
  • Focus: conflict behind burial, “blood” and “state”
  • I. implicates herself; A. angry; both are taken by C.
stasium 2
Stasium 2
  • Chorus laments that before the war, all was peaceful
  • Explains that A. is like Oed. with her “wild words” (23)
  • Laments the fact that Haemon, A. husband, must see his wife perish
response questions
Response Questions
  • 1. Defend Antigone’s argument for her brothers burial. Do you believe she is justified?
  • 2. Explain Ismene’s reaction to Antigone. Do you believe that she had reason to react this way?
  • 3. How does Creon’s initial response remind you of Oed.?
  • 4. How does Antigone defend her position to Creon? Was she justified?
  • 5. How does Creon respond? What does he call to to justify his reasoning?
  • 6. Did anything surprise you about Ismene’s insistence upon being implicated with Antigone? Why do you believe she does this?
episode 3
Episode 3
  • Creon, Haemon, Sen., Antigone
  • C. asks son if he is “disposed –In everything to back [his] father’s quarrel” (25)
  • C. tells H. never to “fling away [his] wits” for liking of a woman (25)
  • C. calls to anarchy as the cause for A. death; no woman can worsen me
  • Town feels for A.; H. warns his father to see both sides—”Let thy wrath go!”(27)
  • Argue over how to rule land: begin to fight using the stereotype of a “woman” as weak and powerless
  • Out of anger, C. wishes H. to watch A. die
  • H. leaves angry; A. banished to a cave: buried alive
stasium 3
Stasium 3
  • Antigone speaking in lyrical poetics to the chorus and lamenting her fate
  • Chorus answers that she is praised for her valor
  • Discussion of being buried alive
  • Chor. states that she is bound by fate: “The cause is some ancestral load, which thou art bearing” (32).
episode 4 end
Episode 4-end
  • A. argues w/ C. about the right to bury her bro. imploring, “…what celestial right/ Did I transgress?” (34)—monologue speaking to her dead brother
  • A. believes that Heaven and the gods are on her side
  • Tiresias (“sees”) and reveals to C. that gods are angered due to his dishonoring of Poly.—will not accept sacrifices; C. needs to know “…that to err from the right path is common to mankind”, but he must not stand “obstinate”(38)
  • C. angered and calls T. prophecies false: T. reveals that H. will die
  • Senator convinces him to set A. free—they go to do so
  • Mess. Tells Eurydice about H. going to see A. , and finding her hanging, kills himself
  • Eurydice leaves before he finishes his speech
  • Mess. hopes that she will not cry in public, but “…to her handmaids in the house…for a private pain”(46)
  • C. laments his mistake! (48); asks to be banished—Eurydice has killed herself
  • Chorus’ last words and main theme: wisdom and reverence to gods is primary