Exam Review: English Antigone Drama Notes and Play
The action of the play begins immediately with a conflict between Antigone and Ismene. What is the cause of the conflict?
Decree against burying Polyneices
Problem: Whether to side with the Gods or Creon
Ismene and Antigone are strongly contrasted in this scene. a. What can you tell about Antigone’s character?
strong-minded and loyal
What can you tell about Ismene’s character?
conventional (typical) and timid
The Chorus describes the battle between Eteocles and Polyneices to the audience. What do these city elders look forward to in the future?
Victory is theirs with the hope of peace.
What have we learned about Creon before he appears onstage?
Creon’s punishments can be harsh. (Polyneices was fighting for what was his anyway)
What is revealed about his character in this scene? (Remember that characters may reveal their own motives in the motives they attribute to others)
Creon is proud and without any compassion.-he is paranoid and thinks that everybody HAS to be guilty and bribing others and is out to get him
What reason does Creon give for his ruling concerning the bodies of Polyneices and Eteocles?
Polyneices died a traitor (was actually fighting for what he had a right to; Eteocles died a hero)
How does the Chorus react?
The chorus believes Creon has the right to enforce his will and not gonna retaliate b/c he’s only been king for a day
The Guard is an ordinary person, even somewhat humorous. What does he want Creon to think about him?
The sentry wants Creon to believe he is loyal, honest, and blameless.
In ode 1, the chorus comments about man. Restate in your own words what the chorus believes are man’s “wonders” and his limitations.
Humans tame the earth but not death. (we were given dominion over animals and plants; State craft=words and thoughts on paper we can think about)
How does the ode 1 comment on the problem of the play as it has been developed so far?
Obey laws for public good. Anarchy is the absence of government.
What major event has taken place before this scene 2 opens?
Antigone was caught burying her brother Polyneices.
How does Sophocles help the audience picture what had happened?
Guard (sentry) describes the scene.
How does Antigone defend her actions?
She is following the gods’ laws
Look back at the comments of the chorus in this scene. Does the chorus seem to side with Antigone or with Creon? Explain.
Choragus is the leader of the chorus which is made up of 15 city elders
Choragus is on Creon’s side: he and the chorus are against Antigone
How has Ismene changed since we first saw her?
Ismene wants to join her sister in death.
How does Antigone treat her?
Antigone says no way. She mocks her (makes fun of her); she is cold towards her.
What grave fears for Oedipus’ children does the chorus express in Ode 2?
Grace= serious, deadly-Antigone and Ismene-wrath of the gods is going to destroy Antigone because she is the daughter of Oedipus.
How would you explain the ancient wisdom of the last line on Ode 2 found on page 216?”Man’s little pleasure is the spring of sorrow.”
Times of joy will be followed by times of sorrow.
If you have joy, pain will follow.
Haimon is caught in a conflict of loyalties in this scene. What methods and arguments does he use to try to persuade Creon to change his mind? For example, how does he appeal to his father’s self-interest?
He is respectful to his father. He uses reason in his arguments with his father. He says he can help his father. He can hear things from the people that Creon can’t.
How does Creon react to Haimon’s arguments?
Creon rejects Harmon’s arguments and refuses to bend.
What attitudes does Creon seem to take toward women?
Believes that women are inferior to men.
What function does the chorus have in this scene? Whose side, if any, are they on?
Urges each man to listen to the other; Finds validity in both arguments.
What is the subject of the chorus’ comments in Ode 3?
Ode 3 in about love- the power of love. The chorus thinks that Haimon’s love for Antigone has clouded his judgment. (on Creon’s side)
Who is the girl in the line “A girl’s glance working the will of heaven”? Who is the father in the line “Strike between father and son”? Who is the son?
To whom is the ode 3 addressed?
What comfort does the Chorus offer Antigone in this scene?
She will at least die with honor.
On page 226, does Antigone think that the Chorus is making fun of her? (“You laugh at me. Ah, friends, friends,”) Do you agree or disagree?
Probably the chorus is being serious; the old men do not know how to comfort the young princess as she faces death.
As Antigone faces her death, does she seem in any way changed from the way she was in previous scenes? Explain.
She seems more human and more frightened.
Antigone is not to be stoned to death as originally planned. What change has been made and why does the form of her punishment suit Creon?
Put her in a cave with food, but Creon will not be directly responsible.
In Ode 4, the Chorus alludes to three Greek myths that were familiar to the ancient Greek audiences. A. How are the fates of the characters of these myths related to Antigone’s fate?
All were imprisoned.
Who are the three mythological characters whose stories are discussed by the chorus in Ode 4?
Danae- imprisoned in underground bronze room by her father King- Acrisuis- visited by Zeus- result- Perseus
Lycurgus- son of Dryas- king of the Edonians-imprisoned by
Dionysus- then blinded by Zeus
Cleopatra- imprisoned by husband Phineus (King of Thrace ) in order to marry new wife. New wife blinded the first wife’s two sons.
Creon has refused to yield to the arguments of Antigone and Haimon, and at first he refuses to listen to Teiresias. Of what does he accuse Teiresias?
Creon accuses Teiresias of being bribed.
Teiresias tells creon that the only crime is pride (stubbornness) How has Creon shown that he is guilty of pride (stubbornness)?
Creon will not listen to anybody; he will not admit he is wrong. He is guilty of hubris- excessive pride.
Why does Creon finally give in?
He finally believes Tieresias (unlike Oedipus who did not believe Teiresias)
B. What part does the Chorus play in Creon’s decision?
The Choragus says the he has never known when Teiresias was wrong.
How has the Chorus changed throughout the play?
The Chorus backed Creon in Scene 2; They backed both Creon and Haimon in Scene 3. They back Antigone and Haimon in Scene 5.
Where in the play do you think the chorus speaks for Sophocles himself?
The Chorus speaks for Sophocles in all four odes as well as at the end of Scene 5. “God moves swiftly to cancel the folly of stubborn men.”
Violence is certainly a part of Greek drama, but it was never portrayed onstage. How does Sophocles tell us what happens to Antigone, Haimon, and Eurydice?
Sophocles uses the messenger to tell the audience what happens to Antigone, Haimon, and Eurydice.
How is Teiresias’ prophecy fulfilled in the end?
In losing his son and wife, Creon paid back “corpse for corpse.” Also, there was weeping that filled his house. The “flesh of your flesh” is Haimon.
How has Creon changed since the beginning of the play?
Creon has changed from proud/ arrogant and foolish to humble and wise (a dynamic character)
What does he finally come to recognize?
He learns that his pride (his tragic flaw) caused his downfall. His punishment is that while others died he must live a long life with the knowledge that he caused the deaths of Antigone, Haimon, and Eurydice.
Tragedy originated from religious festivals in honor of ________.
Religious festivals in honor of Dionysus were held every ________.
a group of about 50 who sang and danced
“Father of Drama”
introduced first actor
added a second actor
added third actor
fixed number of chorus to fifteen
introduced painted scenery
reduced participation of chorus in main action
where audience sat
circular dancing place where actors and chorus performed
alter to Dionysus in center of orchestra
building used as dressing room for actors and chorus
façade of skene building which served as backdrop
entrance to the theater used by chorus, actors, and audience
Never more than _____ actors (changed characters)
all ________ performers
played female roles
(costumes) long, flowing _______
(costumes) high _______, often with raised soles
(costumes) larger than life _______
identified age, gender, emotion
exaggerated features (large eyes, open mouth)
adds beauty through song and dance
gives background information
divides action and offers reflection on events
questions, advises, expresses opinion – usually through choragus
action, time, place
(unity) simple plot
(unity) one scene throughout
tells news happening away from scene
reports acts of violence not allowed to be seen
(limitation of theater) continuous presence of ______ “on stage”
(limitation of theater) no ___________ – continuous flow of action and choral odes
(limitation of theater) no _______ or no _________
The terms tragedy and comedy were first established by the _________
“_______” in Greek means “goat.”
“_______” in Greek means “song.”
An actor dressed in goatskin sang “___________”
As Greek drama developed, _________applied to serious plays depicting fall and death of a noble character in conflict with forces beyond his control.
“________” suggests festive procession + “oide”
A daring peasant sang a song that poked fun at his ruler and let him know some of his faults. This developed into a _____________ mocking social customs.
endings and kinds of characters
Two difference between comedy and tragedy
depicts behavior that is below what we consider normal or ordinary
tracks the fall of someone whose stature is grater than of the ordinary person (king or prince)
Ajax, Antigone, Trachinian Women, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Electra,
Seven of the surviving plays by Sophocles
Sophocles wrote _______ plays.
King of Thebes (murdered)
grandson of the founder of Thebes
Queen of Thebes (committed suicide)
wife of Laios and then wife of Oedipus
total of five children
King of Thebes (died of old age)
son of Laios and Jocasta
had four children
Antigone and Ismene
Daughters of Oedipus and Jocasta
Eteocles and Polyneices
Sons of Oedipus and Jocasta
King of Thebes after Polyneices and Eteocles killed each other
uncle of Antigone, Ismene, Eteocles, Polyneices
King of Corinth
raised Oedipus as his own son
lion body/face of a woman
killed people for not knowing riddle
Blind prophet (seer)
City-state in Greece where play takes place
City-state in Greece where Oedipus grew up (King Polybus)
Army that goes against Thebes in the battle Seven Against Thebes
city-state of Polyneices’ wife’s people
younger son of Creon and Eurydice
City-state where Oedipus died
Elder son of Creon and Eurydice who died in Seven Against Thebes
Antigone vs. Ismene
first conflict in play
Antigone vs. Creon
second conflict in play
Creon vs. Haimon
third conflict in play
Creon vs. Teiresias
fourth conflict in play
Creon vs. Creon (internal conflict)
fifth conflict in play
Religious law vs. civil law
overall conflict in play
_________ denies his brother his rightful turn at ruling Thebes.
________ leads an army from Argos into Thebes.
__________ and ________ kill each other.
Creon honors __________ with a military burial.
Creon forbids the burial of ________ on pain of death.
__________ decides to bury Polyneices.
________ refused to bury Polyneices.
________ buries Polyneices.
The Guard tells Creon that someone has buried __________.
________ is arrested.
_________ tries to convince Antigone that Polyneices does not deserve a burial.
________ confesses to Creon that she helped her sister bury Polyneices.
________ tells his father not to punish a sister for loving her brother.
________ is imprisoned in a cave and left to die.
_________ tells Creon to admit his mistake.
_________ kills herself.
__________ realizes he has been wrong and tries to rescue Antigone.
_________ kills himself.
________ kills herself after she hears that Haimon killed himself.
_________ no longer wants to live.