1ANTIGONE Author: Sophocles Publication Date: 442 B.C Setting: The city of Thebes – AncientGreeceGenre: Drama
2Meet Sophocles (496-406 B.C.) Sophocles was born and raised in Athens He is regarded as one of the world’s greatest playwrights.He frequently won 1st place at the Dionysian festivals, which were competitions between playwrights.During his life, he wrote over 100 plays, but only 7 havesurvived.Among these 7 are: Oedipus the King, Oedipus atColonus, and Antigone.
3More on SophoclesWas an Ancient Greek writer who won many awards for his plays.The Antigone story is part of a three-play cycle. Although Antigone comes last in the cycle, Sophocles wrote Antigone first.The other plays in the cycle are Oedipus Rex (about how Oedipus becomes King) and Oedipus at Colonus (about how Oedipus is looking for a place to die).Sophocles usually showed how harmful excessive pride (hubris) could be.
4The Greek TheaterTheater was a celebration in ancient Greece that was held in honor of Dionysos (the god of wine). During these celebrations, Athenians gathered to watch competitions between playwrights. It was these competitions that Sophocles often won. The plays performed at these festivals usually exposed arrogance which emphasized reverence for the gods and included tragic events. Although violence and disrespect were central to the plot of most tragic plays, violence was never depicted on stage. Instead, these events occurred off stage.
5TragedyTragedy is a work of literature that results in a catastrophe for the main character.In Greek drama, the main character was always a significant person, a king or a hero, and the cause of the tragedy was a tragic flaw, or weakness in his or her character.
6Typical Structure of a Tragedy Ancient Greek playwrights used a consistent format for most of their productions.A Chorus is used to divide the scenes (similar to how a curtain does in present day performances) through a song that comments on the action of the previous scene.The Choragos is the leader of the chorus, and serves as another character in the play
7The typical structure of a tragedy is as follows: Prologue – exposition which provide background to the conflictParados or parode – Opening song or odeStrophê – the chorus sings a stanza while moving from right to left while singingAntistrophê - the chorus sings a stanza while moving from left to right while singingEpode – included in some odes as a final stanzaPaean – a thanksgiving to DionysosExodos – final exiting scene
8Oedipus Oedipus (Antigone’s Dad) was a famous King of Thebes. A plague was destroying Thebes and Oedipus called on a blind prophet named Teiresias to explain why Thebes was suffering so.This is what Teiresias tells Oedipus:
9OedipusHis parents heard from an oracle (fortune teller) that their son would kill his father and marry his mother (who happened to be King and Queen of Thebes).Not wanting to take any chances, Oedipus’ parents left him on a hillside. His parents tied his ankles to keep him from wandering away (that’s how he came to be called Oedipus “Swollen Foot”).Oedipus was found by a shepherd who raised Oedipus as his own son. Oedipus never knew he was adopted or that his parents ever received the prophesy (prediction) about him.
10Oedipus (Antigone’s Dad) One day, an all-grown-up Oedipus set out to find his fortune.He traveled along and came to a spot where three roads met. He encountered a man in a carriage who acted aggressively toward him and killed the man.Oedipus continued on his way and decided to take on an angry Sphinx.
11The SphinxThe Sphinx had the body of a lioness, the head of a woman, and wings. It guarded The Pyramids of Egypt.It would not allow anyone to pass unless they could solve a riddle. If the person failed, the Sphinx would destroy him or her.
12The RiddleQ: Which animal has one voice, but two, three, or four feet being slowest on four?
13Oedipus Oedipus solved the riddle. Lucky for Oedipus, the throne of Thebes had just been vacated--The King had just been murdered while traveling.As a bonus, Jocaste, the Queen who was widowed, was very attractive.Oedipus was selected as the next Thebian King and married Jocaste, the widowed (and somewhat older) Queen.Oedipus and Jocaste had four kids.All is well (sort of) in Thebes until the plague hit.
14Uh-OhOedipus realized he was the cause of the plague--the gods sent it because they were angry about what Oedipus had done (even though when he became King he didn’t know he had killed dad and married his mom).In grief, Oedipus took two broaches (jewelry pins) from his cloak and poked his own eyes out. He blinded himself.His mother/wife Jocaste was also in anguish and hanged herself.
15Now the Soap Opera Begins Oedipus and Iacosta had two daughters (Antigone and Ismene) and two sons (Eteocles and Polyneices).After Oedipus blinded himself, He wandered around and eventually died. His son Eteocles assumed the throne.However, both Eteocles’ brother Polyneices and Iacosta’s brother Creon also wanted the throne.A battle occurred between Eteocles and Polyneices for the throne. The brothers ended up killing each other and Creon became King.
16One More Thing . . .Creon refused to bury Polyneices. In Greek society, the gods demand proper burial.It was the belief of the Ancient Greeks that a body that didn’t have a proper burial would wander for eternity—the body would be neither dead or alive.