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Transcript of Antigone
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"Oedipus Rex (the King)"
"Oedipus Rex" The Short Short Version
"Oedipus the King"
directed by Julie Taymor
An All Vegitable Production
1984 film version
Greek Theatre & The Story of "Oedipus Rex"
"Mighty Aphrodite" (Part 1)
"Mighty Aphrodite" (Part 2)
"Mighty Aphrodite" (Part 19)
"Mighty Aphrodite" (Part 20)
History of Greek Theatre
From Ritual to Theatre
The Greeks - Crucible of Civilization
The Oracle at Delphi
Short Film Delphi at Dawn
Dramatic Lit Terms
Aristotle & Tragic Heroes
"Oedipus the King"
L.A. Theatre Works
Sophocles was an ancient Greek poet and one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His plays belonged to the period after Aeschylus and earlier of Euripides.
Sophocles wrote 123 plays during his lifetime, out of which only seven have survived in a complete form. ("Ajax", "Antigone", "Trachinian Women", "Oedipus the King", "Electra", "Philoctetes", and "Oedipus at Colonus").
It was believed that he remained the most celebrated playwright in the dramatic competitions of the city-state of Athens held during the religious festivals of the Lenaea and the Dionysia. Sophocles participated in thirty competitions, of which he won 24 and never went below second place in the rest.
Among his plays, the two most famous tragedies, "Oedipus" and "Antigone" are generally known as the Theban plays.
Sophocles greatly influenced Western drama. His main contribution was the addition of third actor which reduced the importance of the chorus in the presentation of the plot.
Women in Greek Society
The Oracle at Delphi
What is tragedy?
The story of "Oedipus Rex"
What is a tragic hero?
The author of the play
Large sections of the play, like chapters in a book
Smaller sections of the play,
act are made up of scenes
The words spoken aloud by the characters
Information provided by the playwright (setting, ent. & exits, emotions, etc.). Stage Directions are usually set-off by parentheses and italics.
One character making an extended speech
Two or more characters having a conversation
A monologue where the character is speaking his/her thoughts aloud
Excessive pride, arrogance, over-confidence
[Hubris is usually the tragic hero's tragic flaw.]
A story of a person of greatness suffering a tragic downfall.
Aristotle defines the tragic hero as the protagonist of a tragedy, a person of greatness who suffers a tragic downfall.
[Derived from Thespis, the first actor to step out of the chorus and become a character.]
The chorus spoke their lines in unison.
Dramatic Literature Terms to Know
1.The tragic hero starts from a position of greatness.
2.The tragic hero has a tragic flaw
(Usually an error of judgment involving hubris).
3.The tragic hero’s tragic flaw leads to their downfall.
4.The tragic hero's misfortunate is not wholly deserved.
The punishment exceeds the crime.
5.The tragic hero realizes the error of his/her ways
but too late to prevent his/her downfall.
6.The tragic hero has an increase in awareness,
gains self-knowledge, or makes a discovery.
7.The tragic hero’s fall creates catharsis in the audience.
Though it arouses solemn emotion, tragedy does not leave its audience in a state of depression. Aristotle argues that one function of tragedy is to arouse the "unhealthy" emotions of pity and fear and through a catharsis (which comes from watching the tragic hero's terrible fate) cleanse us of those emotions.
It might be worth noting here that Greek drama was not considered just simple "entertainment;" it had a communal function--to contribute to the good health of the community. This is why dramatic performances were a part of religious festivals and community celebrations.
The hero's downfall, therefore, is partially her/his own fault,
the result of free choice, not of accident or villainy or fate.
Journal: Law & Justice
Dramatic Lit. Terms
The Oracle at Delphi
Literary Analysis Essay
Law & Justice
Aristotle defines catharsis as the purging of the negative emotions pity and fear.
"Just" laws are fair and reasonable. "Just" laws help our society to function.
If you were Ismene and Antigone was your sister, would you help her bury your brother? Explain your reasoning.
Why does Creon deny Poloneces a proper burial? Why does he feel this is good for Thebes?
If you were Creon speaking to your country after a civil war, what would you say to persuade the people to unify?
The Burial at Thebes
Is Antigone justified in buriying her brother? Explain your reasoning.
Is burying her brother worth the risk of Creon's consequences? Explain your reasoning.
What would you do if you were in Antigone's situation?
Creon and the Guard
Describe Creon's treatment of the Guard. What does he say to the Guard? What does he threaten to do to him? Why does Creon treat the Guard this way? Explain your reasoning.
The Art of Persuasion
How does Haemon try to persuade his father regarding Antigone? What strategies does he use to try to convice Creon to change his mind? What could Haemon have done differently? What strategies of persuasion do you think would work on Creon?
The Dramatic Arc
the Main Conflict
The main conflict is between Antigone & Creon.
The main conflict is set in motion when the Guard informs Creon that the body has been buried. This new information puts the conflict between Antigone and Creon in motion.
This is the main coinflict because it will be the central problem driving the rest of the play.
The play takes place in Thebes, Greece. Scene 1 of the play is in front of the palace just before dawn.
The resolution of a tragedy is when the tragic hero makes a new discovery or learns an important lesson.
Witnessing the tragic hero's downfall allows audiences to share in a catharsis, the purging of emotions such as pity and fear.
Creon suffers for his hubris, stubborness, and refusal to listen to the good advice of others. He had many opportunities to change course, but he refused to appear weak. He must pay for his hubris with loss, lonliness, guilt, and grief.
Creon will suffer for his mistakes. However, his experience teaches him valuable lessons. Maybe the most important lesson Creon learns is to put ego and anger aside and listen to good advice when you get it.
This is Sophocles' message to his audience as well. Audiences learn that hubris gets in the way of empathy, being caring and considerate of others.
Learns a Valuable Lesson
Suffers a Tragic Downfall
After Tiresisas' visit, Creon finally admits he has made a mistake.
He reverses his law. This sets up the conclusion of the play.
This change in Creon shows he is a dynamic character. Protagonists change as they deal with the main confict of the story. The events force the protagonist to make difficult choices. The consequences of their choices change them.
Creon goes to the cave to free Antigone.
The blind seer Tiresias, a prophet whose warnings have always been trusted by the people of Thebes, warns Creon that the plague is a consequence from the gods because Polyneices remains unburied.
He warns Creon that he must reverse his decision for the good of Thebes.
Haemon, Antigone's fiance, visits Creon and tries to persuade his father to pardon and free her.
First, Haemon professes his loyalty to his father. Next, he attempts to reason with his father. Finally, he tells Creon that the people of Thebes consider Antigone heroic.
Creon does not take Haemon's advice. Instead he becomes angry and threatens to have Antigone killed immediately and in front of Haemon.
A plague brings sickness and suffering to the people of Thebes.
Foreshadowing the Main Conflict
Mood & Atmosphere
The Guard claims that he and the other guards are innocent of the crime. He tells Creon no one saw or heard the body being buried.
However, Creon accuses him of accepting a bribe to either participate in the crime or look the other way.
The Guard is threatened with torture unless he finds and arrests the person that buried Polyneices' body.
Creon accuses Ismene of being Antigone's accomplice. Ismene is arrested. She admits guilt even though she did not help her sister. Antigone refuses to let Ismene take any blame or credit for the burial of their brother. Creon insists that both sisters are kept under guard for the crime.
The Guard arrests Antigone for burying her brother. He tells Creon he caught her in the act.
The dialogue between Creon & Antigone develops some of the play's major themes: Loyalty, Family, Power, Leadership, Hubris, Law, Justice, Patriotism, etc.
Sophocles develops these themes throughout his play.
The tone of Creon's dialogue with the Guard combined with his threats of torture tell us more about Creon's character.
Although he has no evidence to prove any involvement, Creon accuses Ismene. This is similar to Creon's accusation of the Guard accepting a bribe without any evidence to support his alligation.
Antigone remains calm and confesses. When she is asked directly by Creon if she knew her actions were illegal, she says that she did know, but she defied his law because it is an unjust law.
The messenger returns and tells what happened. Creon had Polynieces buried.
Has a Tragic Flaw (hubris)
Antigone and Creon both remain steadfast and stubborn.
Starts from a Position of Greatness
In the opening scene Antigone creates conflict. She establishes her loyalty to family and the gods' laws. Antigone insists that Isamene help her break Creon's law and bury their brother, Polyneices. When Ismene becomes afraid and disagrees with Antigone's decision, Antigone's tone becomes angry and hostile.
Later, Creon delivers his first major speech as king. Here he establishes that he is most loyal to Thebes and the state's laws. This reinforces the conflict between Creon and Antigone.
Creon declares the penalty for burying Polyneices will be death. This forces Antigone to make a very difficult decison.
In a secret pre-dawn meeting, Antigone plots with her sister to defy Creon's new law.
The Chorus celebrates Thebes' victory in defeating the Argos army and Creon's assent to the throne.
However, conflict and unease revolve around Creon's new law forbidding the burail of Polyneices.
Creon's speech establishes him as the most powerful man in Thebes.
In turn, Antigone's defiance of Creon's power and new law proves she is a very strong-willed and determined woman.
Creon is king of Thebes.
Antigone is a princess, the daughter of a king. She is loved and respected by the people of Thebes.
Although Tiresias has always been considered a trustworthy friend of Thebes, Creon refuses to listen to Tiresias' advice. Instead, he accuses Tiresias of being influenced by money.
Realizes the Error of Their Ways
But Too Late to Prevent Their Downfall
The messenger reports that Antigone hanged herself. In his grief and anger, Haemon attempted to kill Creon, but he instead turned his sword on himself.
After hearing of her son's death,
Eyrodice kills herself.
Althought Creon finally listens to good advice and reverses his decision, it is too late to prevent the deaths of Antigone, Heamon, and Eyrodice.
The messenger says Creon heard Haemon inside the cave.
Creon frees Ismene. He orders Antigone to be locked in a cave with some food.
When Creon gets angry and refuses to listen, Haemon warns him that if Antigone dies, another will die with her.