Antigone Kerry Fiallo, Ashley Reichelmann, Jennifer Seals, Robin Shoblock
Sophocles (496-406 B.C.E.) • Authored approximately 120 dramas • Age 16 led the boys chorus over the Persian Victory • Model Greek citizen-served as imperial treasurer and state commissioner, elected to the office of the general twice Priest of Asclepias • Sophocles did not act in his own plays • Contributions to the development of theater: • Introduction of third actor • Reduction of chorus size which led to greater emphasis on the character • Introduced painted scenery • Introduced a new style of music to plays • Created characters that are more realistic, not “god-like” thus reinforcing the lessons of the play
Early Productions • The chorus is introduced by a trumpet signaling the start of the play. They enter in a triangular pattern and exit at the end of the tragedy in the same manner. • Some believe the chorus may have actually sung and danced to emphasize the important issues of the play • The chorus used conventional hand gestures so even the peasants could understand the drama. • In true Greek spirit the play was performed as part of a competition, Agones, in a festival called City of Dionyus. (Sophocles came in second).
Antigone and Poetics Character and Tragic Error The tragic hero “is the sort of person who is not outstanding in moral excellence or justice” (21). • Creon: He can be commended for his loyalty to the state, but he can be reviled for his stubbornness and pride. The bad fortune should befall the tragic hero not from a personal flaw but from a hamartia, or an undeserved outside source (xxxiii). • Antigone, or at least her actions against the ruling of Creon. Antigone is the catalyst for Creon’s downfall.
Antigone and Poetics Plot • Entire plot of Antigone is an imitation since it is based on previous actions in Oedipus • Discusses the universal idea of judgment; not what did happened but what may happen • Complex plot in which the change is accompanied by the recognition and the reversal • Action dependent on preceeding action, ie. Haemon’s suicide due to Antigone’s suicide • Reversal • Reversal and recognition occur at the same time immediately after Tiresias reveals his prophecy about what is to come of Creon’s life. • Reversal occurs with the change in Creon’s attitude: he now asks the leader for advice and his opinion • “I and my better judgment / have come round to this—I shackled her, / I’ll set her free myself. I am afraid… / it’s best to keep the established laws / to the very day you die” (1234 – 1238).
The Chorus The chorus serves as an intermediary between the actors and the audience. They produce imagery through their words to create scenery that in those days did not exist.
Important Speeches Creon: Anarchy— show me a greater crime in all the earth! She, she destroys cities, rips up houses, breaks the ranks of spearmen into headlong rout. But the ones who last it out, the great mass of them owe their lives to discipline. Therefore we must defend the men who live by law, never let some woman triumph over us. Better to fall from power, if fall we must, at the hands of a man—never be rated inferior to a woman, never. (pg.94, 752-761) Antigone: …If this is the pleasure of the gods, / once I suffer I will know that I was wrong. / But if there men are wrong, let them suffer / nothing worse than they mete out to me— / these masters of injustice! (pg.106, 1017 – 1021). Creon: …Believe me, the stiffest stubborn wills fall the hardest…And I’ve known spirited horses you can break / with a light bit – proud, rebellious horses. / There’s no room for pride, not in a slave, / not with the lord and master standing by. (pg.83, 528-535) Chorus: Love!- / you wrench the minds of the righteous into outrage, / swerve them into their ruin – you have ignited this, / this kindred strife, father and son at war / and Love alone the victor… (pg.101, 887-890)
Questions The chorus does not seem to shows pity for Antigone and indicates that she is to blame for all that has happened. Do you agree with the chorus? Why? Question of ethics- the law of politics and/vs. the law of humanity. What do you think? Why does Antigone reject Ismene’s attempt to die with her—love or pride? Does the identity of the tragic hero change according to classical times to modern times in “Antigone”? Is there a pattern/relationship between Creon and Oedipus?