"Antigone" - summary
One of the most important dramas ever made. It is not an extensive work, but it is easy to get lost in its threads. "Antigone" by Sophocles is a tragedy of power, chronologically classified as the last in the cycle of Theban tragedies. It is considered a masterpiece of world drama, permanently affecting the viewer. Learn the most important threads of "Antigone" and organize information about it - it will certainly be easier for you to understand the work and remember as many details as possible from it.
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1. "Antigone" - what is worth knowing?
Antigone is a tragedy written by Sophocles. Established in 442 BCE According to the chronology, it ranks as the third of the Theban tragedies (after "King Oedipus" and "Oedipus in Colony"). It is a classic example of an ancient tragedy, and it was inspired by Mythology.
Sophocles, the author of Antigone, was one of the greatest tragedies in ancient Greece, next to Aeschylus and Euripides. He was a priest and a military commander, he was also actively involved in politics.
Considered by his contemporaries as a hero, both during his lifetime and after his death. His other major works include:
- "Oedipus King";
- "Ajas" - the oldest surviving tragedy;
- "Oedipus in Kolonie" (published after the author's death).
The main leitmotif in "Antigone" is the tragic conflict between the divine laws that Antigone, the title character, wants to live by, and the human rights established by King Creon.
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The force that traps all heroes in a tragic situation is Fate, and Antigone bears tragic guilt, because she acts against the will of the king, recognizing God's laws as more important.
2. "Antigone" - heroes, or who is who
The people we need to know from this piece are:
- Antygona - daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, she has a sister, Ismena, and brothers Polinex and Eteocles. Creon's niece, Hajmon's fiancée, belongs to the Labdakid family. She rebels against Creon, she is characterized by pride, stubbornness, haughtiness, rebelliousness, consistency in action, excessive religiosity, love for the family and determination. He is not afraid to sacrifice in the name of his chosen ideals.
- Ismena - Antigone's sister, cannot oppose the authority of the authorities, hence she lacks help in burying her brother. She is fearful, submissive and insecure. She loves her sister anyway and is very close to her.
- Creon - ruler of Thebes, brother of Jocasta, uncle of Antigone. He believes that feelings are irrelevant, he does not understand their strength. He thinks rationally, does not accept any other opinion, is an autocrat and a tyrant. At the same time nervous in action, he is constantly afraid of the ignorance and disregard of his subjects and their disobedience.
- Eurydyka - Creon's wife, does not agree with his views. Most of all, she loves Hajmon and is unable to recover from his suicide. An episodic character in the tragedy.
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- Hajmon - son of Kreon, loves Antigone with sincere love. Though he is impulsive, he tries to come to an understanding with Creon and convince him to exercise his power in a different way. He stands behind his fiancée, and when he realizes that Antigone is dead, he commits suicide, remaining faithful to her until the end.
- Tiresias - bard and sage. He advises Creon not to fight the gods and accept their judgments, because as a human he has no chance with them.
- "Choir" - consists of old people living in Thebes, sages and advisers. They try to express themselves objectively in the face of ongoing events. After hearing Tiresias' warning, they finally argue that the most important thing is to do God's will.
3. "Antigone" - a short summary
The action of "Antigones" takes place in Thebes. The inhabitants of this city have just won a war with hostile troops. In these battles, Eteocles and Polynex, brothers from the royal family, died. Eteocles as a hero, and Polynex as a coward.
The above-mentioned brothers, recently a fratricidal fight for the throne. Creon strictly forbids the burial of Polynex, the traitor of the state, and orders Eteocles to be buried with all honors.
Creon is opposed to Antigone and violates the prohibition of the ruler of Thebes, making a symbolic burial of his brother, which is condemned to extermination. The ruler is not persuaded to withdraw from the sentence, despite a desperate request from his son, Hajmon, the fiancé of the beautiful Antigone.
The princess is walled up in a tomb, where she commits suicide. As a result of the events of a suicide death, Haemon, in love with Antigone, dies, and in despair pierces himself with a sword.
Upon learning of her son's death, Hajmon's mother and Kreon's wife, Eurydyka, also commit suicide. The culmination of these events is that Creon becomes a completely broken man whose judgments have become so unfavorable to him.
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According to the rules of ancient tragedy, the main characters of the work: Kreon and Antigone are faced with tragic choices, each of which is unfavorable for them.
Antigone chooses between divine law (brother's burial, according to religion) and human law (will of Creon - the ruler).
Creon, on the other hand, if he follows his order (the one who bury the traitor dies) and kills his relative, or is called a king who bends the law under himself. The fate ends tragically - Antigone dies, while Creon loses all his relatives.