Sophocles’ Antigone. Introduction/Background. Here’s what we’re going to talk about. I. Social/Political Background II. Religious Ideas III. Origins of Greek Drama IV. Stage Conventions of Greek Theater V. Important Literary Terms for the Play
I. Social/Political Background
II. Religious Ideas
III. Origins of Greek Drama
IV. Stage Conventions of Greek Theater
V. Important Literary Terms for the Play
DO take notes. This material DOES appear on the final exam.
Sophocles, born in Athens, Greece in 497 BC, is most famous Greek dramatist.
Athenian government was an exclusive democracy. Only 10% of population could vote (not women, slaves, “non-citizens”).
Sophocles was aware of this injustice.
His plays warn of the destruction that comes from prejudices and poor living conditions.
Greeks worshipped numerous gods who had human attributes
Greeks believed in FATE as a divine force, stronger than gods
Greeks used omens, dreams, oracles, and soothsayers to determine will of the gods
Greeks believed gods became angry with those who were guilty of pride or excess
Greeks focused on daily life, but did write of the immortality of the soul in Hades
One important religious duty is the burial of dead relatives (hint: this is a crucial plot point in Antigone).
To celebrate the gods, Greeks held religious rituals and drama was an important part of the rituals
All people attended these rituals to honor the god Dionysus, who suffered, died and was resurrected. These tragedies follow this model.
These plays were choral lyrics
Tragedies were based on myths, presented in order to teach a moral lesson
Greek tragedy focuses on the TRAGIC HERO: a great man who has one tragic flaw that brings about his downfall.
As the hero accepts the consequences of his errors, he teaches the audience the truth of life
The people watching experience CATHARSIS. At the end the audience is purged, drained of emotions to better understand life
Performed during day, all actors were male.
No violence shown on stage because of religious dignity
THREE UNITIES: 1) Time (takes place in 24hrs), 2) Place (one setting), and 3) Action (one main character, no sub-plots)
Messengers tell about off-stage action
Use of dramatic irony
Use of chorus to represent citizens. Always on stage, sang and danced. Has a leader to carry on dialogue with characters. They set the tone, give background, ask questions, summarize, act like a jury, give advise, etc.
Apostrophe: directly addressing person, place or thing, living or dead or absent
Motif: Repeated situation, incident, or image that is significant
Dramatic irony: audience knows more that the character, knows the character is wrong
Structural irony: Use of naïve hero with incorrect perceptions
Verbal irony: sarcasm; discrepancy between what is said and what is meant