2 Who Was Sophocles?Lived from approximately B.C.E. near Athens, GreeceSon of a wealthy merchantOne of the three great ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, along with Aeschylus and EuripedesWrote 120 plays; only seven have survived in their entiretyBest known for Antigone, Oedipus at Colonus, and Oedipus the King
3 Background Information Prophesied at Oedipus’s birth that he would someday kill his father and marry his motherTo avoid this, he was left on a hillside to dieFound and taken care of by shepherds, eventually taken in by king and queen of CorinthThey never told him he was adopted; EXTREMELY long story short, the prophesy came trueJocasta (his wife/mother) commited suicide; Oedipus blinded himselfOedipus asked Jocasta’s brother Creon to care for his four children: two boys, Eteocles and Polynices, and two girls, Ismene and Antigone
4 More Background Information Eteocles and Polynices agreed to take turns ruling the kingdom of Thebes, but they hated each other and were in constant competitionWhen it was Eteocles’ turn to rule, Polynices and his father-in-law prepared an attack on the seven gates of the cityThe brothers killed each other and Creon seized powerEteocles was given a proper burial but Creon passed a law forbidding anyone to bury the traitor, Polynices.
5 Important to Note…The ancient Greeks believed that denying a proper burial was an insult to human dignity and doomed the deceased’s soul to wander for eternity, never to rest.
6 As the play begins…Antigone is telling her sister Ismene about her plans to give Polynices a proper burial.
7 Themes to think about… The causes and effects of shame and guilt Loyalty—to family, friends, and countryJustice and the law: divine/moral vs. civilTraditions and ideas surrounding death in different cultures
8 Elements of Classical Tragedy The Greek philosopher Aristotle defined tragedy as “the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself.” Tragedy typically includes “incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish the catharsis of such emotions.”
9 Elements of Classical Tragedy Tragic Hero/Heroine as protagonistUsually upper classFundamentally good or at least well-intentionedExhibits hamartia: the tragic flawHubris: excessive prideÂte: rashness, excessive impulsivityExperiences a reversal or downfallChorus: a group of singers (in Antigone, the citizens of Thebes) who comment on the actionChorus leader: choragosSongs: Parados (1st song), Odes.Unity of time, space, and actionOften occurs in a single dayOne locationOne plot (no subplots)
10 The Necropolis (literally, “city of the dead”) at Thebes
16 Characters: Antigone Ant-IG-uh-nee Daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta (Creon’s sister)Wants to give her brother Polyneices (polly-NEE-sees) a proper burial
17 Characters: Ismene Izz-meanie Antigone’s sister Wants to abide by Creon’s decree and leave Polynieces’ body exposed
18 Characters: King Creon KREE-onBecame king after Polyneices and Eteocles (eat-EE-oh-klees) killed each other in battleDecrees that Polyneices will not be buried—under penalty of death by public stoning!
19 Characters: Eurydice Your-ID-uh-see Creon’s wife Lost her son Megareus in the battle of Thebes
20 Characters: HaimonHI-monSon of Creon and EurydiceAntigone’s fiance