CLASSIC 45C Lecture 4: Sophocles' Antigone: Overview and Themes
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Department
Classics
Course
CLASSIC 45C
Professor
Zacharitsa Giannopoulou
Semester
Spring

Description
Class: Classics 45C Topic: Antigone Date: Background ● Staged around 441 BCE ● After Oedipus exiled from Thebes, Eteocles claimed that kingship belonged to him & exiled older brother Polynices ● Polynices retaliated with an army but both of them killed each other ● No reliable source that Antigone buried Polynices ○ Could be made up Major Characters ● Antigone ○ Oldest daughter of Oedipus ○ After brothers’ death, defies Creon’s orders not to bury Polynices, and covers his body in dust ■ Religious burial laws are more important than civic laws ○ Sentenced to death by Creon by starvation in cave ○ Creon realizes his mistake but too late; Antigone hanged herself ● Ismene ○ Youngest daughter of Oedipus ○ Advises Antigone to obey Creon’s orders but she doesnt listen ○ After Antigone is sentenced, Ismene insists that she was an accomplice and wants to die with her ○ Antigone says that Ismene had nothing to do with it and Ismene is spared ● Creon: ○ Jocasta’s brother and king of Thebes ○ After death of Oedipus’s sons, becomes king Minor Characters ● Haemon ○ Creon’s son ○ Engaged to Antigone ■ Doesnt want her to die ○ Warns Creon that many Thebans dont want her to die ○ Commits suicide in Antigone’s cave ● Tiresias ○ Blind prophet of Apollo ○ Warned Oedipus ○ Warns Creon that gods are angry bc Polynices is unburied but Creon ignores him ● Eurydice ○ Creon’s wife ○ Learns of son’s suicide and goes back to palace to commit suicide too The Orthodox View ● Who is right and who is wrong? ● Antigone is right, Creon wrong ● Antigone seen as christian martry, standing for rights of individual, private conscience, or for women’s rights 1 Class: Classics 45C ● Everyone(citizens, characters) agrees with Antigone ● Creon: ○ Philoi: those devoted to the city ○ World above ○ Use of death ○ Rejection of love ○ Rationality- reason, follows rules, black and white ● Antigone ○ Philoi: kin ties ○ World below ○ Acceptance of death ○ Hades’ bride ■ In love with death? ■ If a woman dies before being married, she is buried in bridal gown. Married to Death ○ Emotionality-acts o
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