Religion • The Greeks believed that their beliefs in the gods would make their daily lives better; consequently, they also believed that the gods would take care of them after death. • PolytheisticThe Greeks believed in many different gods and goddesses. • These gods / goddesses controlled everything, from the weather to who won a race.
Religion • As you know, each god / goddess controlled one or two things. • Temples were built in each town for one god / goddess. • Greeks sacrificed animals to honor the gods. • The only temple still standing today is the Parthenon, built in honor of Athena, goddess of wisdom and war.
Religion • All gods lived at the top of Mount Olympus. • Greeks would go to holy sites called oracles. • At the oracles, Greeks and the priest of the temple would pray to the gods and ask questions about their future. • Gods answered their questions using signs from nature. • For example, at the oracle of Dodona, you would write your question on a slab of lead then give it to the priest, who listened to the rustling leaves of sacred oak trees to tell you the god’s answer.
Setting • Play takes place just before the Trojan War, about 1250 BCE. • Superstition was very strong and science essentially did not exist.
Government in Antigone • Each city-state in Greece had its own form of government. • These city-states were separated from each other and because of the mountainous terrain of Greece, travel from one city to another was difficult. • This travelling difficulty did not stop them from fighting with each other often, however. • Greeks were stubborn.
Government • Bronze Age Thebes (1200s B.C.) • Sophocles explores social and political issues • Creon has an authoritarian rule • Antigone is strong-willed • He combines these to warn against the dangers of dictatorship and to highlight the status of women in Greek society.
Government ● Creon is King → what the king says is law → going against him is punishable ●Though he can create any law he wants, he must still obey the gods.
Funeral Rites ● Rituals for the wealthy were extravagant. Gold and jewels were often buried with the repected and honored dead. ● It was believed that if you were not provided a proper burial along with appropriate rituals, you were destined to suffer between worlds until your rites of passage into the underworld were completed
Funeral Rites • Upon death, the spirit of the dead leaft the body as a little breath of wind. • The deceased was then prepared for burial. • If the burial rites were not performed, that was considered an insult to human dignity. • Women were primarily in charge of conducting the burial rituals.
Funeral Rites • 1. Prothesis– laying out the body • Relatives / friends came to mourn and pay their respects • 2.Ekphora – funeral procession • Took place just before dawn • Few objects were placed in graves but they were marked by elaborate steel statues • 3. interment of the body or the cremated remains
Role of Women • Greek women had no political rights • Controlled by men • Most important duty for city women was to bear children—preferably male—and to run the house. • Rural women were to tend to the agriculture: harvesting olives, fruit, gather vegetables.
Women • They completely ran the household • Many women were domestic slaves who cooked, cleaned, and carried water • Only in the poorest homes was the wife expected to do these duties. • They limited their time outside the home to visiting only their nearest female neighbors. Exceptions to this were weddings, funerals, and religious festivals.
Women • Antigone holistically rejects the norm for women in society. • Ismene believes that women should respect their place in society.
Motifs • Sins of the father are the sins of the child. • Tyranny vs democracy • Conformity vs free will • Loyalty • Law vs morality