ANTIGONE: A woman willing to sacrifice it all for her beliefs
ACCORDING TO SEVEN AGAINST THEBES • Eteocles and Polyneices remained in Thebes, where Jocasta's brother Creon was ruling as regent. • When the boys were grown, they agreed to rule Thebes alternately. • Eteocles ruled first, but when his year was up he refused to relinquish the throne to Polyneices. Polyneices, who had married the daughter of the king of Argos, led the Argives and six other cities in an assault on Thebes (The Seven Against Thebes). • Thebes drove off the attackers, but in the course of the battle the two brothers killed each other. • Their uncle Creon assumed the throne and decreed that Eteocles was to be buried with honors but his brother Polyneices was to be left unburied, to rot in the sun and be eaten by scavengers.
ANTIGONE Prologue and parados Recap • Setting: Thebes, just after a war between the two sons of Oedipus—both have died and Creon is now the king. At night Antigone slips out the door of the palace meeting her sister, Ismene, in secret. • Antigone: “How many griefs our father Oedipus handed down!” (59) • JUXTAPOSITION: Eteocles gets “full military honors and “goes down with glory among the dead” (60). For Polynices, Creon “forbids anyone to bury him, even mourn him” (60). • PERSUASIVE APPEALS: Ismene reminds her sister “how our father died, hated, his reputation in ruins, driven on by the crimes he brought to light himself”—we will be destroyed by our own crimes. “Now look at the two of us, left so alone,” she says, pointing out that they are even more vulnerable—single women. She tells Antigone they “must be sensible” and not “rush to extremes” (62). • MARTYR: Antigone defiant, refuses to give up her cause, but rather die for it-- “I will suffer nothing as great as death without glory” (64).
ANTIGONE EPISODE 1 RECAP: • EXPOSTION: Creon calls a meeting of the elders of Thebes, his advisors, played by the CHORUS. • SHIP MOTIF: He declares that the “ship of state is safe,” after the war. • FORESHADOWING: He describes what a good leader should be, setting forth his authoritarian opinion on the matter. This foreshadows his ultimate demise. • CONFLICT: The body of Polynices has been buried, which is forbidden. • TONE: Creon says, “stop, before you make me choke with anger!” • APOSTROPHE: “Money—you demolish cities.” • CHORAL ODE (STASIMON): “the wonders of man”, foreshadows the demise of Creon, due to his hubris.
ANTIGONE EPISODE 2 RECAP: • IMAGERY: the corpse of Polynices “slimy, going soft” (80) • SUPERNATURAL FORCES: “a black plague of the heavens” (80) • JUXTAPOSITION of SIMILES: “like a bird” (female) (80) and “like hunters” (male) (81) • TONE: Creon: “You had the gall to break this law?” (81) and Antigone: “fool” (82). • CENTRAL CONFLICT: the laws of the gods vs. the laws of the state • CHORUS as MEDIATOR: “She hasn’t learned to bend before adversity” (83). • FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: Iron and horses. Her will could be broken. • HUBRIS: “She is the man if she goes free” (83). • REINFORCING WOMEN”S ROLES: “No woman is going to lord it over me” (86). • ANIMAL IMAGERY: “Viper, sucking my life blood” (86). • APOSTROPHE: “Haemon, your father wrongs you so!” (89). • WAVE/WATER IMAGERY: “cresting on and on from one generation” (91). • FORESHADOWING: “blinding ruin” (92).