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Introduction & Overview of Antigone by Sophocles

This Study Guide consists of approximately 64 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Antigone.
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Antigone Summary & Study Guide Description

Antigone Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading and a Free Quiz on Antigone by Sophocles.

Introduction

Greek playwright Sophocles wrote the last play in the Theban Trilogy, Antigone, around 442 B.C. The Theban Trilogy consists of Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King), Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone, but the play considered the last of the three was, ironically, written first. Only seven of Sophocles's one hundred twenty three tragedies have survived to the modern era with the trilogy surviving the ages intact. These three plays are perhaps the most famous of the seven, with Antigone performed most often.

Antigone tells the story of the title character, daughter of Oedipus (the former king of Thebes, who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother, and who renounced his kingdom upon discovering his actions), and her fight to bury her brother Polyneices against the edict of her uncle, Creon, the new king of Thebes. It is a story that pits the law of the gods"unwritten law"against the laws of humankind, family ties against civic duty, and man against woman.

Many playwrights in Ancient Greece used mythological stories to comment on social and political concerns of their time. This is what Sophocles may have intended when he wrote Antigone. Based on the legends of Oedipus, Sophocles may have been trying to send a message to the Athenian general, Pericles, about the dangers of authoritarian rule.

These tragedies were written to be performed at the Great Dionysia (a festival in honor of the god Dionysus, the god of fertility, theater, and wine) in Athens. Attending these plays was considered a civic duty, and even criminals were let out of jail to attend. Antigone won Sophocles first prize at the festival and was an enormous success. It is still performed today, and has been adapted by French playwright Jean Anouilh, who set the play during World War II.

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This section contains 299 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Antigone Study Guide
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Antigone from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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