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Old School Classics, Pre-1900 > Antigone - Sep 2019 - Spoilers

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message 1: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6556 comments This is the discussion thread for Antigone by Sophocles, our Old School Classic Group Read for September 2019.

Spoilers allowed here.

Please feel free to discuss anything you wish, relating to the book and let us know what you thought :)


message 2: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9189 comments Mod
I'm reading the play from this book: The Three Theban Plays Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles translated by Robert Fagles

It has a wonderful introduction to the three plays and also for the play itself.


message 3: by Emmy (new)

Emmy (emmy205) | 197 comments I "read" this back in high school, so it was nice to actually sit down with the book and give it the attention it deserved. This is one, however, that I really think should be read in a complete set with its two sister plays.

That being said, I loved how strong Antigone was. I think that many authors, when attempting to write a strong female character, end up making a caricature. Antigone felt legitimate, though. She wasn't an action hero, but she wasn't a shrinking violet. She felt real to me.

Thoughts?


message 4: by Melanie (new)

Melanie I loved how well Antigone was! Especially for those times! It's so rare (in classics) to see a woman depicted as (view spoiler)


message 5: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3046 comments I loved this play so much! Antigone is a great heroine with her courage to stand up for what is right. I loved the lesson that digging into a bad position is weakness rather than strength.


message 6: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 96 comments I think I read this before, but too long ago to remember. I listened to Oedipus Rex and then read Antigone and I enjoyed both. It's refreshing to read of a strong woman as others have mentioned. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall or a time traveler and find out what it was really like in Sophocles' time? I hope to finish the middle play this fall and then re read Antigone.


message 7: by J_BlueFlower (new)

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1427 comments Conflict between state/family, law/tradition, man/women - all handled in less than 100 pages. And the dialogue. Wow! How can it be so old? I see that others think it very fresh too, so it is probably not just my translation (to Danish by Otto Steen Due) but I am surprised that for instance the expression “did not know if he was bought or sold” is so old that it was a cliché even back then and you could make fun of it adding “and packed for export”.

Another small thing I also liked a lot was the guard coming with bad news. How he manages to say nothing at all for half a page, but building suspense (even though we know perfectly well what he is going to say). All his nothing-at-all talk about how slowly he hurried. It has around 90% of the content between the lines.


message 8: by Fee (new)

Fee | 109 comments As you mentioned above, Antigone also felt real to me. I liked how Sophocles managed to show her conflicting thoughts. She was so strong, when standing up to Kreon but when her fate was sealed she started to pity herself and the situation she'e in. That seems like a very human reaction.

I thought the religious conflict was also very interesting. Kreon tries to act against the gods will. He thinks his rights as a ruler are standing above all. At the end he is put into his place.


message 9: by Petrichor (new)

Petrichor | 300 comments I also really liked it!
I guess the morals of the story are
speak up against authority if you think the people in power are wrong
and
even if you are the one in power, you should listen and take advice

Any others you could catch?


message 10: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 587 comments I read this back in high school after we read Oedipus Rex in my English class.

There were certainly a number of interesting dilemmas in the play.
Antigone did what she felt was right, but Creon had to take a strong stance for the sake of establishing a strong, stable rule. Therein lies the conflict- what is right vs what is the law. It's a conflict that we certainly see plenty of in today's world.

And then there are the gender issues- many of them the type we still deal with in today's world.

There are plenty of deep issues covered in this relatively short play and its the type of thing I think everyone should read once.

But ultimately I didn't really care for any of the plays in this "cycle" and wouldn't make a point of rereading any of them.


message 11: by C.R. (last edited Sep 22, 2019 12:45PM) (new)

C.R. | 43 comments Although I can't say that I understood all the allusions to Greek mythology throughout the play, I did appreciate the strength of Antigone. She seems to me a very modern woman. I think that modern readers sometimes forget that human nature has really not changed that much (for better or worse) and classic plays such as this one remind us of that.


message 12: by Kay (last edited Sep 23, 2019 05:31PM) (new)

Kay | 46 comments J_BlueFlower wrote: "Another small thing I also liked a lot was the guard coming with bad news. How he manages to say nothing at all for half a page, but building suspense (even though we know perfectly well what he is going to say). All his nothing-at-all talk about how slowly he hurried."

I loved that scene, too! So funny, but you're right when you say Sophocles was building suspense all the while. A master storyteller to do both simultaneously, and in a way that is just as effective in our time.



message 13: by Kay (last edited Sep 23, 2019 05:31PM) (new)

Kay | 46 comments Fee wrote: "Kreon tries to act against the gods will. He thinks his rights as a ruler are standing above all. At the end he is put into his place."

If I recall from my reading of Oedipus Rex, Kreon was one of those who were chastising Oedipus about going against the will of the gods. Also, he was frustrated with Oedipus in that first play for his anger and rash judgements. All of which he is guilty of in this play. I think this is partly to show the effect that power has on people; how it can make us act rashly, thinking we are too powerful for consequences to affect us. Invincible.



message 14: by Kay (new)

Kay | 46 comments Petrichor wrote: "I guess the morals of the story are
speak up against authority if you think the people in power are wrong
and
even if you are the one in power, you should listen and take advice

Any others you could catch?

As Tiresias says, "No possession is worth more than good sense." And in the very end of the play, the leader sums up the story by talking about how the proud have to have wisdom beaten into them as they age. That's 2 more universal themes I saw.



message 15: by Kay (new)

Kay | 46 comments Near the beginning of the play, Creon talks about the importance of the "city". He says he has no "use for a man whose friend means more to him than his country" (214). But by the end of the play, I think he learns that family should receive a higher, greater love than one's city. Is that how others read this? I've always kind of thought in the back of my mind that the ancient Greeks placed a higher value on protecting one's country than on loving one's family. I don't know where I got that idea...


message 16: by C.R. (last edited Sep 23, 2019 02:46PM) (new)

C.R. | 43 comments Great food for thought, Kay. I see the same idea in the Greco-roman ideals that influenced American thought during the formation of our country. A true patriot's duty serves country before family, perhaps?


message 17: by Julia (last edited Sep 23, 2019 05:01PM) (new)

Julia | 20 comments Kay wrote: "Near the beginning of the play, Creon talks about the importance of the "city". He says he has no "use for a man whose friend means more to him than his country" (214). But by the end of the play, ..."

Should our elected leaders put their families above their duties to the state? What happens without a strong leader? I tend to side with Creon. Oedipus and the brothers left things a dangerous mess. Creon comes in to clean it up. He’s really the tragic hero. I can’t really muster up any strong feelings for Antigone herself, she’s so robotic. She’s also merciless to her sister.

Those Greek tragedians don’t make it easy for anybody.


message 18: by Idit (new)

Idit | 61 comments It is a really strong play.
I could imagine it played loudly as I was reading it
I read the Oxford World Classic translation by HDF Kitto - which looks to be quite an old translation
It stands well, the language worked for me.

I agree - the guard scene was great. It's where I started really getting interested. But after that - almost any dialogue or monologue were full of impact.
The mirroring of Antigone - underground while alive with her brother - above ground while dead...

For such a short play it's quite detailed with the picture it creates.

To me, Creon is the real tragic hero of this tale. Antigone is unwavering and confident in her decision, while his character goes through a lot of change.

It feels a bit like if you took Romeo and Juliet and told it from the point of view of one of their parents. At the end of the play, that fight between the Capulets and the Montague would feel a bit pointless to them


message 19: by Tami (last edited Sep 24, 2019 12:39PM) (new)

Tami (pdxbridgegirl) | 49 comments I finished this last week. The book that I have is Three Theban Plays. I was only a few pages into Antigone when I decided I wanted to read all three plays, so I started at Oedipus the King, then read Oedipus at Colonus, and finally Antigone. I'm so glad I did.

This was my first experience with reading Greek plays. I'm a bit intimidated by ancient Greek writings. I don't feel I have anything overly insightful to share - I liked the reading experience and felt what I was reading was relevant even today. I was also very appreciative, once again, for the introduction and timeline provided by B&N in their collection of classic paperbacks.


message 20: by Michaela (new)

Michaela | 533 comments I read this play in one day, and really loved it. My edition was in German translation by Wilhelm Kuchenmüller and easily understandable, in contrast to the Oresteia by Aischylos, which I had read before. Will look at the other plays of the Theban trilogy.

An interesting point I found in the remarks by the translator was that he thought verses 904 till 920 were falsified and not by Sophokles himself, who only tells about Antigone´s "last love" she did for Polyneikes, and didn´t make a big story out of it.

Interesting point also the diversity between Antigone and Ismene about how to react in the choice between Kreon´s law and the law of the family. When Antigone is "arrested", she reminds herself what she should have done, and wants to die with her sister.


message 21: by Alia (new)

Alia | 228 comments Better love story than R&J.

She loved her brother enough to die to ensure his afterlife. Her fiance loved her enough to die with her. The queen loved her son. No one loves their country the most, not even the king.


message 22: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3046 comments Alia wrote: "Better love story than R&J.

She loved her brother enough to die to ensure his afterlife. Her fiance loved her enough to die with her. The queen loved her son. No one loves their country the most, ..."


Great point Alia.


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