The Oedipus Trilogy of Sophocles
Oedipus was the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta. Before he was born, his parents consulted the Oracle at Delphi. The Oracle prophesied that Oedipus would murder his father and marry his mother. In an attempt to prevent this prophecy's fulfillment, Laius ordered Oedipus's feet to be bound together, and pierced with a stake. Afterwards, the baby was given to a herdsman who was told to kill him. Unable to go though with his orders, he instead gave the child to a second herdsman who took the infant, Oedipus, to the king of Corinth, Polybus. Polybus adopted Oedipus as his son. Oedipus was raised as the crown prince of Corinth. Many years later Oedipus was told that Polybus was not his real father. Seeking the truth, he sought counsel from an Oracle and thus started the greatest tragedy ever written. (From feedbooks.com)
The curriculet is being added to your library
Spoiler Alert! This brief section before the play summarizes the entire story. It is helpful to have a general sense of what happens, but if you want to be surprised, skip it!
Antigone takes place after Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonnus. In order to understand the backstory, watch this quick video that recaps the story of Oedipus the King: (This annotation contains a video)
In this context, the word "weird" is a noun meaning a person's fate or destiny.
Why does Creon refuse to bury Polyneices?
How did Eteocles and Polyneices die?
One theme that we will encounter in the play is the idea of how women can be strong vs. how men can be strong. Watch this brief video for an introduction to theme: (This annotation contains a video)
Here, Victory is personified as a woman. Watch this video for an overview of personification, and pay attention to further examples of it in the play: (This annotation contains a video)
Watch this video for an overview of the function and role of the Chorus in ancient Greek theatre: (This annotation contains a video)
Which word best characterizes Creon's style of leadership, based what he says in this speech?
Why was the guard conflicted in speaking to Creon?
The ancient Greeks had elaborate burial rituals. They believed that a body that did not receive the proper burial would not gain passage into the Underworld.
When the guard compares him and his companions to "quivering reeds," he is using a simile. Watch this video for an overview of simile and metaphor: (This annotation contains a video)
Creon blames most evils in the world on _____.
What is the structure of the strophe and antistrophe by the Chorus?
In other words, the guard is saying
Which literary device is employed here?
Who is the "him" in this sentence?
In this sentence, the connotation of woman is ____ and the connotation of man is ____.
In this sentence, "one mother" is ____ and "the self-same sire" is ____.
Why does Creon compare Ismene to a viper?
What is Antigone's tone when she says this to Ismene?
Antigone had been betrothed to Haemon, Creon's son.
What is personified in this passage?
In this speech, Haemon declares that his greatest loyalty is to _____.
To be a good ruler, Creon believes, one must have ______.
What is Haemon's purpose in this speech?
What is the irony in this statement?
According to Haemon, on whose behalf is he speaking to Creon?
Who is "only her who touched the body"?
Acheron is one of the five rivers of Hades, and it was considered the river of pain. The newly dead would be ferried across Acheron to reach the Underworld. (This annotation contains a link)
"Tantalus' doomed child" is an allusion to Niobe, a figure in Greek mythology who turns into a stone after seeing her children killed by the gods. (This annotation contains an image)
The Chorus attributes Antigone's misfortune, in part, to her father Oedipus' sins.
According to the Chorus, the laws of ____ must be obeyed over the laws of ____.
What is the tone of Antigone's speech?
Teiresias is a seer (somebody who interprets messages from the gods). In Oedipus the King, Teiresias tried to tell Oedipus that the person responsible for the plague on Thebes was actually Oedipus himself. Oedipus refused to listen to Teiresias and came to regret it. As a blind seer, Teiresias represents a more powerful "sight" than physical sight - he shares wisdom and truth.
What device is used when Teiresias makes this statement?
As a seer, part of Teiresias' job is to interpret bird calls. Interpreting signs from birds was a common way of receiving divine knowledge in ancient Greece.
What is Creon's tone in this speech?
The "living soul" is ____ and the "corpse unlaved" is ____.
In these lines, Teiresias compares his words to _____.
Creon is torn between his desire to stay resolute and his suspicion that Teiresias may be correct. This is an example of internal conflict. Watch this video to learn the difference between internal and external conflict: (This annotation contains a video)
The rest of the play moves very quickly. Watch this video for an overview of pacing, or how an author structures the events of the plot. Then consider why the pacing is accelerated in these scenes. (This annotation contains a video)
According to the Messenger, ____ is most important in life.
In these lines, Antigone and Death are compared to ______.
What motif emerges in this scene?
What is Creon's tone in these lines?
Megareus was the other son of Creon and Eurydice. In the conflict between Eteocles and Polyneices, Megareus sided with Eteocles and wanted to fight in battle. Trying to protect his son, Creon sent Megareus away, but he snuck out and joined Eteocles. He was killed quickly. Eurydice may have blamed Creon for his death, and now she can blame him for the death of Haemon, as well.