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Major Works Data Sheet
The numbers in parentheses represent the point values for each requirement.
AP Literature
Biographical information about the author:
Title: Antigone
Author: Sophocles
Date of Publication: circa 440 B.C.
Genre: Tragic Drama
Historical information about the period of publication:
Considered one of the 3 greatest playwrights of classical
Greek theater, Sophocles was a respected citizen who held
political and military offices in 5th century BC Athens.
Wrote more than 100 plays. Best known for his 3 Theban
plays. Credited with changing Greek drama by adding a 3 rd
actor, reducing the role of the chorus and paying greater
attention to character development
Classical period. Greek authors drew material from a cycle
of 4 epic poems, the Theban Cycle, which was very
familiar to audiences Sophocles used this common story
but made Oedipus a contemporary character to represent
many of the ideals of Athenian leadership.
Antigone was performed sometime around the year 441
B.C.E., just before Athens fought a campaign against the
revolt of Samos. Sophocles was selected to be one of nine
generals in that campaign. These historical events are
relevant because some of the play’s central issues are the
appropriate use of power by the state, the possibility of
justifiable rebellion, and the duties of citizens to obey the
laws of their government. A long-held tradition suggests
that the popularity of Antigone lead directly to Sophocles’s
election as a general.
Characteristics of the genre:
Tragic Hero
Tragic Flaw (Hubris)
Prologue, Parados, Episode, Stasimon, Exodus
Plot summary: Antigone's Twisted Family Tree:A brave and proud young woman named Antigone is the product of a really
messed up family.Her father, Oedipus, was the King of Thebes. He unknowingly murdered his father and married his own mother,
Queen Jocasta. With his wife/mother, Oedipus had two daughter/sisters and two brother/sons.When Jocasta found out the truth of their
incestuous relationship, she killed herself. Oedipus was pretty upset too. He plucked out his eyeballs. Then, he spent his remaining
years wandering through Greece, being led by his loyal daughter Antigone.After Oedipus died, his two sons (Eteocles and Polynices)
battled for control of the kingdom. Eteocles fought to defend Thebes. Polynices and his men attacked the city. Both brothers died.
Creon ( Antigone's uncle) became the official ruler of Thebes. (There's a lot of upward mobility in this city-state. That's what happens
when your bosses kill each other.)Divine Laws Vs. Man-made Laws:Creon buried Eteocles's body with honor. But because the other
brother was perceived as a traitor, Polynices's body was left to rot, a tasty snack for vultures and vermin. However, leaving human
remains unburied and exposed to the elements was an affront to the Greek Gods. So, at the play's beginning, Antigone decides to defy
Creon's laws. She gives her brother a proper funeral.Her sister Ismene warns that Creon will punish any who defy the law of the city.
Antigone believes that the law of the gods supersedes a king's decree. Creon doesn't see things that way. He is very angry and
sentences Antigone to death.Ismene asks to be executed along with her sister. But Antigone doesn't want her by her side. She insists
that she alone buried the brother, so she alone will receive punishment (and possible reward from the gods).Creon Needs To Loosen
Up:As if things weren't complicated enough, Antigone has a boyfriend: Haemon, the son of Creon. He tries to convince his father that
mercy and patience are called for. But the more they debate, the more Creon's anger grows. Haemon leaves, threatening to do
something rash.At this point, the people of Thebes, represented by the Chorus, are uncertain as to who is right or wrong. It seems
Creon is starting to feel a little bit worried because instead of executing Antigone, he orders her to be sealed inside a cave. (That way, if
she dies, her death will be in the hands of the gods).But after she is sent to her doom, a blind old wise man enters. He is Tiresias, a seer
of the future, and he brings an important message: "Creon, you made a big stupid mistake!" (It sounds fancier in Greek.)Suspecting the
old man of treason, Creon becomes infuriated and refuses Tiresias' wisdom. The old man becomes very cranky and predicts bad things
for Creon's near future.Creon Changes His Mind (Too Late):Finally scared, Creon rethinks his decisions. He dashes off to release
Antigone. But he's too late. Antigone has already hanged herself. Haemon grieves beside her body. He attacks his father with a sword,
misses completely, and then stabs himself, dying.Mrs. Creon (Eurydice) hears of her son's death and kills herself. (I hope you weren't
expecting a comedy.)By the time Creon returns to Thebes, the Chrous tells Creon the bad news. They explain that "There is no escape
from the doom we must endure." Creon realizes that his stubbornness has led to his family's ruin. The Chorus ends the play by offering
a final message:"The mighty words of the proud are paid in full with mighty blows of fate." . (
Major Works Data Sheet
Describe the author’s style: (2.5)
Page 2
Identify an example passage that demonstrates the style. Explain the
example if necessary. (Please include a page number): (2.5)
Significant Quotes (5)
(Choose at least five and include page numbers. Quotes should demonstrate the range of the entire work.)
“I will suffer nothing as great as death
without glory.” (Antigone, lines 112113)
“Whoever thinks that he alone possesses
intelligence, the gift of eloquence, he and
no one else, and character too..such men,
I tell you, spread them open – you will
find them empty.” (Haemon, 791-794)
“I have longer to please the dead than
please the living here: in the kingdom
down below I’ll lie forever.” (Antigone,
“Take me away, quickly, out of sight. I
don’t even exist – I’m no one. Nothing.”
(Creon, 21445-1446)
“The mighty words of the proud are paid
in full with mighty blows of fate, and at
long last those blows will teach us
wisdom.” (Chorus, 1468-1470)
Major Works Data Sheet
Page 3
Significant Characters (5)
Role in the story
Daughter (and ½
sister) of Oedipus;
buries her brother
Polynices, defying
law of King
Daughter (and ½
sister )of Oedipus,
sister to Antigone
King of Thebes
Citizens of Thebes
Blind prophet;
warns Creon of
the consequences
of his pride
Creon’s wife
Son (and ½
brother) to
Oedipus; died in
battle defending
Thebes after
refusing to
relinquish the
throne to his
Son (and ½
brother) to
Oedipus; died in
battle, fighting
against Thebesconsidered a
traitor and denied
burial by King
Major Works Data Sheet
Page 4
Setting and significance (Please list and describe three
Significance of the opening scene (2)
examples; include page numbers)
Unity of time and place
Place: Thebes
Time: One day
Significance of the ending/closing scene (3)
Significant Literary Devices (such as symbol, foreshadowing, imagery, irony, etc.) that contribute to the themes of the work
(List and explain 5; include page numbers) (5)
Themes (List five universal topics that the work conveys.) (5)
Blindness vs. Sight
Natural Law
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty
Fate vs. Fee Will