Ancient Greek play by Sophocles

Ancient Greek play by Sophocles

Background Information for Antigone


Today you will start reading, annotating, and discussing Antigone, an ancient Greek play by Sophocles.

  • Listen to your teacher describe the background for Antigone.
  • To help you keep the characters straight, use the list of characters at the beginning of the play (the “dramatis personae”) and work with your teacher to create a Characters in Antigone chart. Maintain a list of characters and information about them in your Notebook. Fill in information each day as you read and find out more about the characters.

Open Notebook

  • Ask questions if you need clarification.

The Beginning of Antigone

Work Time

Follow along as two students read the beginning of Antigone up through systema 4 (line 155), when the Leader announces the arrival of Creon, the king.

As you read along, annotate the text as follows.

  • Highlight information for the Characters in Antigone chart.
  • Note any questions you have about the text.
  • Mark unknown words.

The Sisters' Relationship

Work Time

Complete a Quick Write.

  • How would you describe the relationship between Antigone and her sister, Ismene?

Open Notebook

Share your response with a partner.

About the Beginning of Antigone

Work Time

Use the following questions to have a conversation with a partner about the beginning of the play.

  • What questions do you have about what the characters said?
  • What is it that Antigone intends to do? Why?
  • What is Ismene’s response?
  • What information or other contributions are made by the Chorus and the Leader?
  • What mention is made, if any, of the many Greek gods?

Open Notebook

After briefly discussing each question, write your answer. Refer to specifics from the play in your answers.

If you have time, continue reading the play with your partner.

Discussion of the Play

Work Time

Share your thoughts about the opening of the play with your classmates.

  • What is the opening situation of the play?
  • What questions do you have that remain unanswered?
  • How are the laws of Creon, king of Thebes, in conflict with Antigone’s understanding of the right thing to do?



Continue reading Antigone .

  • Read until the Guard leads in Antigone (after the antistrophe 2, line 364).
  • Look up words or names when you don’t know what they mean.
  • Pay particular attention to Creon, his speech, his manner with the Leader of the Chorus, and his style of leadership.

About Antigone


Answer the following questions and submit your responses to your teacher.

  • What is your initial impression of Creon and his leadership?
  • What statements in the Justice: Take a Stand survey have bearing on what you’ve read so far?
  • Laws are made to help create order in society, and so they must be obeyed.
  • All persons are equal under the law; whether rich or poor, they will receive the same treatment under the law.
  • Each person who breaks a law must suffer the consequences with reasonable punishment.
  • Morality cannot be legislated.
  • It is sometimes justifiable to break a law.
  • The best way to change an unjust law is through civil disobedience—to break the law.
  • The bodies of all dead soldiers should be treated honorably, even those of enemies.

Open Notebook