COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS: Sophocles' Antigone (Don Taylor production)

1. Identify the characters in the play.

2. Why does Creon choose to leave Polynices' body unburied?

3. Why does Creon sentence Antigone to death? What purpose does this serve in the play?

4. Why does Ismene attempt to share responsibility for Antigone's actions?

5. What does Haemon's appeal to Creon reveal about Haemon's character?

6. Describe the Guard and his purpose in the play.

7. Why does Creon become so obsessive and stubborn in his leadership?

8. What is the role of the Chorus in the play? 

9. What is the role of Teirisias, the blind prophet? How does Creon react to him?

10. Towards the end of the play, what does Creon finally decide to do? Why?

11. What happens in the cave where Antigone has been immured*?

     *to immure someone = to enclose or confine them against their will

12. What is the role of the Messenger towards the end of the play? 

13. What motivates Eurydice's suicide?

14. Although the title of the play is Antigone, Creon is generally considered to be the tragic figure. Why?


Part One

1. Identify at least two major conflicts represented in this tragedy.

2. Does Antigone's choice to defy Creon shows tragic pride and inflexibility, or
dedication to virtue? 

   Explain your reasoning.

3. Does Creon's decisions show dedication to the well-being of Thebes and its citizens, or tragic 

   pride and inflexibility? Explain your reasoning.

4. Identify the moral lesson represented in the play. Justify your response with specific references.  

Part Two: First read the two statements below and discuss your interpretation of each. 

Next discuss whether you agree or disagree with each statement. Explain your reasoning.

1. Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle: "It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good 


2. Twentieth century civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "An individual who breaks a law that 

    conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse 

    the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the 



Below: Antigone: A Clean House for the Dead Season, by Sam Weber  

SUPPLEMENTAL INFO (not required viewing or listening)

National Theatre You Tube: An Introduction to Greek Theatre 

National Theatre You Tube: An Introduction to Greek Tragedy

National Theatre You Tube Antigone: The Ancient Greek Chorus 

National Theatre You Tube Antigone: An Introduction

Crash Course Literature 202: "Fate, Family, and Oedipus Rex"

NY Times article: "Antigone Speaks to a Modern World"

Sophocles' "Ode to Man" from Antigone, recited in ancient Greek: watch the video here; read about it here.

Martha Nussbaum on moral decency: "Equal Respect for Conscience: The Roots of a Moral and Legal Tradition"

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