Watch the video “Greek Mythology God and Goddesses Documentary” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MSEsh6jgHE then answer two of these three questions about Antigone, Sophocles’ third in the trilogy of the Greek tragedy plays he is most famous for authoring. Remember to answer each numbered “question” in a well-defined 3-5 sentence paragraph and respond to your classmates with at least 2-3 robust sentences.
In the bio of Sophocles’, we read:
Sophocles transforms a story about a clash between two cities into a drama concerned with conflicts between community and family, between man and woman, between young and old, between religious and secular duties, and between the rights of the living and those of the dead. The play shows us a series of oppositions, between values or themes (love and hate, city and family, living and dead) and between characters: Antigone and her sister, Ismene; Creon and his son, Haimon; and, above all, between Creon and Antigone.
This play exposes rather intricate experiences in the lives and relationships among human beings, both ancient and modern.
1) Tell your fellow classmates how you would feel if you were Antigone and both your brothers had died in battle, leaving an uncle who is headstrong and power-hungry, and who has proclaimed that one of your brothers (Polyneices) is not to be buried? Remember, he is the king and has the power to have you executed without question! Would you be brave and/or stubborn enough to follow through this decision to defy the king? Or, would you feel more like Ismene and think that because Creon is now the ruler of the land they were all to obey without question if they valued their lives? Explain the difference between the two sisters’ philosophies regarding the issue of obeying the king’s decree and your own feelings of the same.
2) Why do you believe Creon acted the way he did about the deaths of Polyneices and Eteocles in dishonoring one and elevating the memory of the other? Was he right in doing so? Why or why not? Do you believe the tragedy that resulted from the decisions of both of the main characters of this play (Antigone and Creon) could have been avoided? Please explain which one or more of these might have ended this issue for Thebes: a) compromise between the two; b) a formal mediation (third party advising) between Kreon and Antigone; c) overthrowing the government (kingship of Creon); d) Ismene standing up with her sister and forming a coalition against Creon’s decree or e) another solution that perhaps you think would have worked best.
3) In today’s times, we see situations that are political powder kegs. Given what we know of this situation with Antigone and Kreon, human beings can be uncompromising, quick to react to offenses (real or imagined) and believe theirs is the only “right” way to do things. How can we learn from these types of situations in how not to act, how best to prevent war and bloodshed, and come to an understanding of those issues that are at the heart of our greatest angst, the loss of our own dignity and self-respect? What should “We the People” (in our vastly-diverse country of America) do with our differences in beliefs, politics, and all the misunderstandings that come from differing socio-economic, nature/nurture upbringings, racial, and religious ideologies that divide us? Do you see hope for our future generations that there can be a “meeting of the minds” and that we can believe in one another’s right to exist with respect and dignity, just as Antigone wanted to bury her brother with dignity and for her own familial (nature/nurture), ideological, and religious purposes
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