Analysis of Sophocles’ Antigone

This is a reading Journal First thing to do is read the two guides attached (THIS IS VERY VERYVERY IMPORTANT). DO NOT TELL THE PLAY. DO NOT REVIEW THE PLOT. tell what you think about the plot instead + what we learn from each part of it .

Please watch for grammar mistakes. This is all based on your opinion and what you think about the story.  Read: Sophocles’ Antigone,Fagle translation.

It is ok to use other online sources, but make sure to cite them. DO NOT QUOTE from the text. Use MLA style for citations. I will not accept incomplete work or average quality work. The conclusion in the last page must represent all 6 pages.

Whats in each page?

  • Use the first 2 pages to clarify the actions of the play using ur own point of view.
  • In page 3 and 4 consider answering some of these questions using ur own thoughts: ( I need u to tell me what questions u solved when u deliver the order)

3) In pages 5,6 and 7 write something like

“Psychological Application of Antigone”

Questions to consider for page 3 and 4:

  1. Why does Sophocles’ open with this dialogue between sisters? What are Antigone’s

problems? Ismene’s?

  1. Why is Antigone determined to bury her brother? What are her arguments?
  1. Why does Sophocles’ use a chorus of old men? What is the overall mood of the parodos (entrance song by

the chorus)?

  1. What is Creon’s policy and political views? How does he express himself?
  1. How well does the Sentry stand up against Creon? How sympathetic and how comic is he?
  1. What is the significance and tone of the First Choral Ode, the “Ode to Man?” How reflective is it of Periclean


  1. Why did Antigone return to the corpse for the “second burial?” What is her mood now?
  1. What are the issues of this agon (confrontation, debate with paired long speeches) and stichomythia =verbal


  1. What are Cron’s values? How does he respond to Antigone’s speech? What does he think Antigone is guilty


  1. How do you explain Ismene’s change of mind? Does she share Antigone’s view of protest and death?
  1. Saying she is dead already, Antigone remains silent for the remainder of the scene. What is the power of

silence? Or does she? Who should say “Dearest Haemon …”?

  1. What mood does the chorus set with their references to curse and Zeus?
  1. How does the rich, dense imagery of this ode affect our reactions?
  1. How effective are Haemon and Creon’s arguments in this agon between father and son?
  1. How sympathetic is Haemon? What are his feelings for Antigone? How does he change in the course of

the scene?

  1. What does Creon intend to do with the two women? Why? What is “pollution?”
  1. Why do the chorus sing an Ode to Eros (Love, Sexual Desire)?
  1. What is the significance of Antigone’s reverence to Niobe in her kommos (lament)?
  1. What is the attitude of the chorus to Antigone’s predicament? How do they explain

her motives?

  1. Does Antigone’s journey proceed from heroic defiance to isolation and self-pity?
  1. How does one read Antigone’s long speech of justification? Is it “inept,” “illogical,”“unconvincing and

bizarre,” rational and reasonable,” “plausible?”

  1. Is there yet one more change in Antigone before her final departure?
  1. Why delay the action with a long choral ode? How do the three mythical characters of Danae, Lycurgus

and Cleopatra relate to the case of Antigone? Does the chorus shift its focus now to the power of Destiny,


  1. Who is Teiresias and why does he appear in so many Greek tragedies? What is his message and how

does he, almost a prologue, introduce a new plot action?

  1. Why does Creon yield and change his course of action? Has the focus shifted to Creon and do we see a

development in his character in this scene?

  1. Why does the chorus invoke Dionysus in prayer form? What is the new mood?
  1. Who is the Messenger and what is the effect of his report? What are his strategies: direct speech, present

tense, vivid detail, chronology?

  1. Why bring Eurydice on the stage for one short speech? Why a silent exit?
  1. What is the effect of Creon’s kommos (lyrical lament) and admission of error and acceptance of guilt? Why

is his concern only for Haemon?

  1. How does Sophocles use the ekkyklema (portable stage to display dead bodies) to create a moving


  1. What are the causes of Creon’s tragedy and fall? How similar is he to Aristotle’s tragic hero?
  1. Are there any ironies in Creon’s downfall? What is irony and why does Sophocles employ it so frequently?
  1. How does the play end? Why does Sophocles not bring back Antigone’s corpse?

It will be helpful to you in your understanding of this play to have read at least a summary of Oedipus Rex, a later play by Sophocles whose action takes place when Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, was a small child.

Useful links:

Classics Pages,  one useful one keyed to the Fagles translation that I find particularly thought-provoking.

(There is also extensive information re the play available on the Classics Pages, that also offers The Antigone Game considers the critical action of the play by requiring you to place the scenes of the play in their proper order.)

Notes Regarding an Annotated Journal

These journals will be the most important reflection of your participation in this course.  They should be maintained thoughtfully – and faithfully — throughout the term as the course proceeds through the six primary readings.

Your journals should reflect the depth of your study of a reading.

They should include a variety of dated entries.  For example: questions and reactions of the sort that you (in a “regular” class) might include in your class notes or offer  in class discussions;  or a list of annotated links from the Internet and other sources related to your reading.  They will represent the most substantial part (45%) of your final grade. (If you submitted portfolios in high school, you might think of these as electronic portfolios.)

You can return to your journal at any time before the prescribed due date to add, remove, or revise your comments.

Your journal should reflect the degree to which you have given each of the readings a careful and critical assessment.  At the end of each reading, your final version of your journal will be deposited to the Reading Journal assignments on the Blackboard site as written text, not as a file, after which they will be read and graded with comments and suggestions.

Such a procedure, I trust – though requiring some patient adjustments initially — will provide the greatest possible opportunity for what in a class of this size might be called tutorials.  They will represent the clearest evidence of your intellectual and critical assessment of the readings.

Although references to the characterizations and actions in a given reading might be briefly included, your journal should not be a summary of the plot.  Knowing the characters and what happens in a story is just the first step to reading it!

The precise format of your journal is left up to you so long as it is organized and consistent and includes the key elements listed above. I envision its format as something like an expanded and reversed version of a Facebook layout that allows annotated external links, images, etc. . With luck, at the end of the term, we can both review quite clearly your degree of interest and engagement in the course.  I look for evidence in your journals that you have carefully read the work considered and critically assessed it.

In the Syllabus I stated my belief that, given the Internet and the startling evolution of the Google World, you did not really need me.  Students really don’t need instructors or professors to the degree they once did.  However, like the practice of yoga, academic study can obviously be carried out alone, but such study tends to be more enjoyable and productive if engaged in with other common-minded individuals.  So it often is with academic pursuits, regardless of how informal they may be.

We find ourselves with an interesting relationship these days.  You are at least “virtual” scholars , and I am a professed and paid “instructor” and “coach” interested in assisting you and, if we get along well, enriching your academic endeavors.

The stated purpose of these journals is to provide a framework for a record of your intellectual and scholarly pursuits, evidence of the extent to which you have been engaged in a study of the works being considered both in class and independently — evidence that will provide you with a record of serious thought and will serve as primary evidence to support a grade for the course.  Furthermore, I have emphasized my belief that all that you require — not all that exists, of course — for a productive study of these works can be found on the Internet, thanks to the Google search engine.


What I post in “Weekly Directives” and what you might post to the “Discussion Boards” — while they might enrich your understanding of issues and ideas related to the texts — cannot adequately substitute for independent research.

If you have not yet become convinced of the truth of the adage that in the final analysis one “gets out of an academic venture what one puts into it,” perhaps this experience will, through its challenges and rewards, persuade you.



An acceptable format for a reading journal should have the following qualities:

A. Although it certainly should include specific notes and details re the actual story, it should not be limited to a summary of the plot, i.e. what happens in the story.  Rather your reactions to those notes and details.

B. It should include your specific questions regarding the fragmented quality of the story, what isn’t clear and what’s left out, along with responses to (if not potential answers to those questions).  For example: the creation and the transformation of Enkidu is fascinating, as well as puzzling; but, so what?  What might this aspect of the story tell us about this most ancient tale — and our own past as evolving human cultures — specifically the examples and characterizations of human feeling and behavior.  Enkidu’s feelings?  Humbaba’s true character?  Saduri’s advice?  Ninsun’s reaction to Gilgamesh’s venture into the Cedar Forest?

C. It should include links or references that reflect some research into traditional commentaries or reactions to the stories.  All critical responses not your own should include links to their sources.  The number available on the Internet re this story appear to be unlimited, and I’ve included several under External Links.

D.  As to it’s length:  pages of electronically prepared posts somehow do not compare well to published pages, so length is going to depend on your ability to be concise.  However, even with concise paragraphs, there would have to be at least a half dozen significant posts — or what would be several otherwise double-spaced pages of regular text.  [A final note: we’re working with established Word texts, with it’s traditional rules, here.  Not coded text messaging.  Spell-Grammar-Usage apps are recommended.]

D. Finally, though it might be posted in several parts as you move along through your study of the text, before it is submitted for a grade it should be organized in a way that reflects your final “take,” understanding, or critical assessment of the text — just as you would do for a portfolio.

[Though you might work with your posts as a separate document and save it as a file, post it to the Journal site as text in some form of  Word.]

Last Updated on April 16, 2020