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They don't make 'em like they used to

  • Jun 30, 2010

I'm a huge fan of the classics and they don't come more classic than Greek tragedy. Antigone is the final of the three Theban plays by legendary Greek playwright Sophocles and tells the story of the end of Oedipus' life after he has been famously banished for killing his parents.

The story is notable for its depiction of the Greek concept of philoi - friendship - throughout as well as the importance of family loyalty. Oedipus, once a proud and mighty king, is reduced to nothing more than a blind beggar with a hobble who requires the assistance of his daughters to walk. The villagers soon learn of the prescence of Oedipus and tell him to move on but Antigone defends her father. Oedipus is angry because his sons both died fighting each other in battle (a curse he laid upon them due to his famous temper) but Creon has only allowed the burial of one and has shamed the other by disallowing the burial rites afforded to most citizens. This is a very important thing in ancient Greek society as they believed if someone was not properly buried Hades would come up and snatch someone else in their place. In short, it was the ultimate insult.

The play tells the tale of Antigone's defiance of the law in the face of tradition and presents the argument over which is more important - law or custom.


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November 23, 2010
Read it many moons ago during my college days, and I had the chance to see it performed once. I'd agree that it's still a relevant message, especially for the times we live in today, but I much prefer OEDIPUS REX as a classic over ANTIGONE.
August 13, 2010
Amazingly this was the funniest play I have seen. It all started with my collage putting up Rocky Horror Picture Show with such success that it ran 23 shows, a record for a collage and was sold out every time. Next year there was a great void to fill and a literary teacher brought in his translation of Antigone. It did not turn out well as ancient tragedies did not fit the bill very well. In the most notorious show the King Cleon walks on stage holding his dead son and starts "Oh sorrow ..." Well the adolescent audience had had enough of tragedy and sorrow and a few start to laugh, and it became contagious up to the point where the entire audience burst into tears laughing - helped in no small amount where the actor playing the dead son joined in and the King dropped him to the floor. Later it became fashionable to refer to Antigone as a "Tragedy to watch" Sadly the subtle qualities of Greek Tragedy were entirely lost on the crowd but Antigone has always held a soft spot for me since that time.
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Quick Tip by . August 08, 2010
The Antigone is the great tragedy according to Aristotle. According to Aristotle, tragedy is higher and more philosophical than history or poetry; it is one of the highest expressive forms because it dramatizes what may happen. History is a narrative that tells you what has happened tragedy shows what is possible. History deals with particulars, tragedy deals with the universal. Tragedy creates a cause and effect chain and shows how the world operates.
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Author: Sophocles
Genre: Management, Sophocles, Greek, Greek & Roman, Movements & Periods, Ancient Greek

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1984 (British first edition)

Collection of Classics


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