Objective for this Page: To present an overview of the play,
emphasizing its structure.
The translation by Robert Fagles in our course textbook (John Schilb and John
Clifford, Making Literature Matter [Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's,
2000]:1305-1345) does not segment the play, but I find it handy to quiz students
by assigned section. As a result, their contributions have been made
according to the outline in the buttons above and the lines in section notes
below. The part name in the chart below are linked to summary, commentary,
and discussion questions for that part, as are the buttons above.
Ancient Greek Play Structure Applied to Antigone
||Lines in Fagles
||Antigone declares her intention to defy Creon's decree
against burying her brother, Polynices. She also observes that this
decree seems aimed directly at her.
||The elders of Thebes glory in the victory in yesterday's
attack on the seven gates of Thebes.
||Creon decrees that anyone burying Polynices will be stoned
to death inside Thebes.
||The elders of Thebes revel in the greatness of mankind.
||Creon arrests Antigone, assisted by a hinky sentry who could
easily be portrayed by Jar-Jar Binks.
||The old men of Thebes grouse about the moral blindness that
seems to infest Oedipus' spawn.
||Haemon tries to play his dad in order to save his woman, but
soon loses it and the scene degenerates into a Defcon 1 father vs. son
hurling of insults.
||The chorus (those old guys) blame the city's current turmoil
on Love and hassles Antigone about her actions and parentage.
||Creon condemns Antigone to being entombed alive with her
last meal; Antigone (wrongly) assumes no one will mourn her.
||The elders of Thebes site other famous people who were
buried alive or turned to stone as punishment by the gods [overlooking the
fact that Creon isn't a god, just a tyrant trying to solidify his power
||Tiresias straightens out Creon, but predicts that his
slowness to rescind his decree will cost him the rest of his family.
||Choral Paean: The elders of Thebes celebrate Creon's
||The messenger has some bad news and some more bad news.
||Fate teaches wisdom and piety, claim the Theban elders.