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Antigone

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					Sophocles
Born 496 B.C. and died after
413 B.C.
Wrote Antigone in 441 B.C.
Lived near Athens--priest,
state treasurer and committee
advisor for the city
Defeated Aeschylus(the
reigning playwright) in the City
Dionysia Dramatic Festival.
Wrote over 120 tragedies with
only 7 surviving
Plays consisted of moral
lessons cautioning against
pride and religious
indifference
Added a third actor to
Aeschylus’s original two
Introduced painted sets and
stage scenery
Expanded the size of the
chorus from 12 to 15
Sophocles’ Theban Plays
 3 tragedies about King Oedipus and
 his family
 Wrote these plays over a 40 year
 span
  Antigone —3rd part written 1st and
  performed in 442 B.C.
  Oedipus Rex —1st part of the story
  written 12 years later
  Oedipus at Colonus —2nd part of the
  story written the last year of his life
Ancient Greek Plays
Thespis
 transformed hymns into songs telling
 the story of a hero or god
 one person would step forward and
 play the part of the hero or god
 he is immortalized in our word
 thespian, referring in actors and
 actresses
Aeschylus
 playwright who added a second actor,
 thus adding the possibility of conflict
 and creating drama as we know it
Greek drama grew out of
ancient religious rituals
honoring Dionysos—god of
wine and fertility
6th century B.C. —Dionysian
celebrations became an
annual festival held in
Athens
3 playwrights competed for
prizes in tragedy and
comedy
Plays were presented in 3
days:
 Tragedies—heroic characters
 and unhappy endings, with
 serious treatments of religious
 and mythic questions
 Satyrs—comic and even lewd
 treatments of the same themes
 as tragedies
 Comedies—ordinary people with
 happy endings
3 male actors played all of the
characters, and a chorus of 15
men performed the singing
and dancing.
Actors wore masks hiding the
actor’s facial expressions and
amplified their voices.
Play performances were held
in an outdoor amphitheatre
where audiences sat on a
hillside or on stone benches
placed around the stage.
                 Audience Seating




               Stage where the actors
                     performed

Side stage where the chorus danced from left to right


               Stage for the scenery
Tragedy
  Based on observations of
  Greek drama, particularly
  the works of Sophocles
  Arouses pity and fear in the
  audience so that they may
  be purged, or cleansed, of
  these unsettling emotions
Tragic Heroes
 Born into nobility
 Have a potential for greatness
 Responsible for their own fate
 Doomed to make a serious
 error in judgment
 Tragic flaw (hamartia) leads to
 downfall
 Too much pride (hubris) often
 leads to downfall
The Hero’s Tragic Flaw
 Downfall is caused by tragic flaw
 — a fundamental character
 weakness, such as pride, ambition,
 or jealousy
 Hero comes to recognize his or her
 own error and to accept his or her
 tragic consequences
 The real hero does not curse fate
 or the gods but is humbled and
 enlightened by the tragedy
The Audience
 Feels the hero’s punishment
 exceeds the crime, that the hero
 gets more than he or she deserves
 Feels pity because the hero is a
 suffering human being who is
 flawed like them
 Feels fear because the hero is
 better than they are, and still he or
 she fails. What hope can there be
 for them?
The Greek Afterlife
 and Burial Rites
Every human being went to an
underworld called Hades after
death
One’s reputation followed one
there; if one lived less than
honorably on Earth, the dead would
know of the person’s dishonor for
eternity.
In Hades, spirits were free to move
around and could enjoy the
company of other deceased
relatives.
The dead were dressed in
white and then buried with
offerings of food and
personal possessions.
If funeral rites were not
performed, the spirit of the
dead person hovered at the
gates of Hades, but was not
allowed in.
The Curse
Oedipus and his family --
cursed by the gods because
they try to escape fate
Oedipus’ parents -- attempt
to control destiny by getting
rid of their son, Oedipus
Oedipus -- tries to control his
own destiny by leaving
Corinth to escape his fate
Read the Myth of
   Oedipus
Elements of Literature—pp.
         688-689
The Characters
 and the Play
Antigone: protagonist; strong minded
daughter of Oedipus
Ismene: gentle older sister of Antigone
Polyneices/Eteocles: Antigone’s
brothers
Creon: Antigone’s uncle, new king of
Thebes
Eurydice: wife of Creon
Haimon: son of Creon and Eurydice,
betrothed to Antigone
Teiresias: blind prophet
Chorus: citizens of Thebes
Choragos: leader of the chorus
Sentry: soldier
The play begins with the news that
Antigone’s brothers, Eteocles and
Polyneices, have killed each other.
Creon is the new king and he has
announced that Polyneices will be
left to rot where his body lies.
This edict goes against Greek
religious practices and Antigone is
determined to give her brother the
burial he deserves.
Irony in Antigone
 Dramatic Irony-
 audience/reader is aware
 of information the
 characters are not
 Situational Irony-an
 unexpected outcome
 Verbal Irony-character
 says one thing but
 means another
Foil Characters
  Ismene (weak) vs. Antigone
  (strong)
  Haimon (rational) vs. Antigone
  (emotional)
  Haimon (logical human voice) vs.
  Teiresias (voice of the gods)
Creon vs. Antigone
Creon represents the state, and the
ideals of government, as the holder
of absolute power over a city and its
people
Antigone represents the duties one
has to family and to the gods
A challenge to Creon’s power is
seen as a challenge to his
masculinity
Antigone upsets the typical gender
roles, showing that women as well
as men determine or interpret the
law
Antigone & Ismene – Interpretation Chart
                  Passage                      Speaker   What does this passage reveal about
                                                                    the speaker?

“Now  you can prove what you are: a
                                                         CONFRONTATIONAL; STRONG-WILLED AND
true sister or a traitor to your family.”     ANTIGONE               FORCEFUL

“Bury him! You just said the law forbids                   SUBSERVIENT TO HUMAN LAW EVEN
it.”                                                      THOUGH SHE KNOWS THAT IT’S WRONG
                                               ISMENE     NOT TO BURY HER BROTHER; OBEDIENT
                                                                     AND FEARFUL

“You may do as you like, since apparently
the laws of the gods mean nothing to you.”                 VIEWS SISTER AS WEAK BECAUSE SHE
                                              ANTIGONE      WON’T STAND FOR GOD’S LAWS BUT
                                                              CHOOSES MAN’S LAWS INSTEAD

“They mean a great deal to me, but I have
no strength to break laws that were made                 VALUES HUMAN LAWS OVER THE LAWS OF

for the public good.”
                                               ISMENE                THE GODS



“Impossible things should not be tried at                      FEARFUL, COWARD, WEAK

all.”
                                               ISMENE
I am not afraid of the danger; if it means               ADHERES TO LAWS OF GODS VERSUS LAWS
death, it will not be the worst of deaths –               OF HUMANS (CREON) AND IS WILLING TO

death without honor.”
                                              ANTIGONE    FACE PUNISHMENT FOR THOSE BELIEFS


“So fiery, you should be cold with fear.”                FEARFUL OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO HER
                                                           SISTER BECAUSE OF HER BEHAVIOR
                                               ISMENE        TOWARDS CREON AND HIS LAWS

“O, tell it! Tell everyone! Think of how                     WANTS SOMEONE TO SHARE THE
they’ll hate you when it all comes out.”                  CONSEQUENCES WITH BUT KNOWS THAT
                                              ANTIGONE   ISMENE WILL NOT DO IT; SHE’S TAUNTING
                                                                  HER BECAUSE OF IT
                        JOCASTA




HAIMON     MEGAREUS     JOCASTA




ETEOCLES   POLYNEICES      ISMENE
Dramatic Structure - Tragedy
  INCITING INCIDENT—SOMETHING HAPPENS TO BEGIN THE
                    ACTION OF THE PLAY

  EXPOSITION—BACKGROUND INFORMATION

  RISING ACTION—STORY BUILDS AND GETS MORE EXCITING

  COMPLICATION—SIGNALS THE BEGINNING OF THE MAIN
               CONFLICT

  CLIMAX—MOMENT OF GREATEST TENSION

  REVERSAL—CHANGE OF THE HERO’S STATE OF AFFAIRS

  FALLING ACTION—THE FALLOUT RESULTING FROM THE
                 REVERSAL OF FORTUNES

  CATASTROPHE—EVENT THAT OCCURS IN WHICH THE
               PROTAGONIST IS WORSE OFF THAN THE
               BEGINNING OF THE PLAY

  MOMENT OF LAST SUSPENSE—THE FINAL OUTCOME OF THE
                           CONFLICT IS IN DOUBT

				
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