Antigone
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  • 1. Antigone by Sophocles
  • 2. Tragedy
    • A work of literature that results in a catastrophe for the main character.
    • Greek Tragedy
      • 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/her character.
      • Allusions were frequently used (usually based on familiar myths).
  • 3. Ancient Greek Theater
    • Athens in the 5th century B.C.
    • seated 1000’s
    • limited characters, no curtains, no violent actions on stage
  • 4. Dramatic Competitions
    • Held at festivals honoring Dionysos
    • Dionysos was the Greek god of wine and fertility
    • 5 days were devoted to the performances
    • Until the 5 th century B.C. the playwrights acted their plays alone
  • 5. Famous Greek Tragic Playwrights
    • The three main contenders for the tragedy prize were:
      • Aeschylus
      • Euripedes
      • Sophocles
  • 6. Actors and Costumes
    • Aeschylus introduces a second actor.
    • In the 4 th century B.C. Sophocles introduced a third actor.
    • Sophocles did not act in any of his own plays, and this becomes the norm.
    • Three actors required one actor to play many roles.
    • Elaborate masks and costumes were worn by the actors.
  • 7. Presentation of Plays
    • Prologue (exposition)
    • Chorus enters and sings a parados (opening song)
    • Scene One
    • The Chorus’s song, called an ode , divided the scenes
  • 8. The Chorus
    • Interpreted the meaning of the play
    • Leader was called the choragos - exchanged thoughts in dialogue
    • Strophe and antistrophe refer to the movement of the chorus across the stage
    • Concluded with thanks to Dionysos and an exodos, exiting scene
  • 9. The Oedipus Myth
    • Oedipus was abandoned at birth by his parents, the King and Queen of Thebes: Laios & Iocaste.
    • A fortuneteller proclaimed that the infant would one day kill his father and marry his mother.
    • The servant who was ordered to kill the child could not do so and instead gave him to a childless couple in another city.
    • Oedipus never knew who his real parents were.
  • 10.
    • As a young man, Oedipus left to start his own life.
    • He traveled to Thebes where he killed a man without knowing it was Laios. (Yes, his father.)
    • He confronted the Spinx, a riddle telling monster that killed those unable to answer his riddle.
    • The Sphinz leaped into the sea after Oedipus gave the correct answer and Oedipus became a hero in Thebes.
  • 11. A Royal Marriage
    • Thebans reward Oedipus by making him their king and giving him Iocaste as his wife. (Yes….his mother!!)
    • The couple lived happily for years and raised four children of their own.
  • 12.
    • A plague befell the city.
    • Priests claim that the plague was punishment for some unknown sin.
    • During an investigation into his own background, Oedipus learned the facts of his birth.
    • At this revelation, Iocaste committed suicide.
    • Oedipus blinds himself.
    • Iocaste’s brother, Creon, took control of the city and allowed one of Oedipus’ children, Antigone, to lead him into exile.
  • 13. A Family Mourns
    • Antigone, her sister Ismene, and brothers Eteocles and Polyneices were burdened by their family background.
    • The two sons have argued over who is to rule Thebes and Polyneices has left home to find help to support his claim to the throne.
    • Back in Thebes, Eteocles had taken the throne.
  • 14.
    • Polyneices returns to Thebes with an army from Argos and fights his brother and Uncle Creon.
    • Polyneices and Eteocles kill each other and Creon takes the throne to restore order to Thebes.
  • 15. The King’s Decree
    • Creon orders that Eteocles be buried with honors because he has supported Creon’s established order.
    • However, because Polyneices was a traitor to Thebes, Creon ordered that his corpse be left to rot. (Which was an unimaginable violation of religious laws.)
    • Antigone’s decision to disobey that command is central to the play.