The major assignment for this week is to compose a 900-word essay on Antigone. In this paper you will write an in-depth analysis using your own ideas and excerpts from the play in the form of quotes, paraphrases, or summaries.
As you prepare to write this essay, make sure you understand what you are being asked to do.
Pick a Topic
First, identify a topic write about one of the following options:
Antigone clearly scrutinizes the cultural institution of gender, for the playâ€™s debate about the nature of justice and good governance hinges on Antigoneâ€™s defiance of the king, making the play one of only a few ancient Greek dramas that put a woman center stage (apologies for the bad pun!). Moreover, there are important moments in the play that underscore its focus on gender inequality. For instance, at one point Creon accuses his son, Haemon, of considering “some women” more important than the rule of law. Creon goes on to complain that Haemon puts Antigone before all others. In another passage, Ismene, invoking the argument that women should obey men, urges Antigone to submit to Creon. Examine representations of gender and the gender conflict in Antigone in detail.
Scholarship developed from the nineteenth century through the present offers multiple interpretations of Antigoneâ€™s character. One of the abiding questions about her is whether her desire to bury Polyneices properly is political or if her defiance of the king is motivated, as she claims, solely by divine edict. Advocates of the first position see her as “speaking truth to power” as she engages in civil disobedience. But scholars who support the second explanation tend to consider Antigoneâ€™s concerns as primarily domesticâ€”about her familyâ€”rather than political. Yet another interpretation of Antigone is that she, like so many other figures in ancient Greek drama, is guilty of excessive prideâ€”hubrisâ€”as she tries to impose divine law on Creon.
Develop a character analysis of Antigone. You may argue for or against one of the positions stated above or you may take another direction. One thing to consider in your discussion is whether she is successful despite her suicide.
Develop a Tentative Thesis
As you consider different options for your thesis:
Develop a few hypotheses about the text that are based on your own perspectives and relate to the topic that you chose to explore for this assignment.
In addition to considering the textâ€™s plot, reflect on what genre and other elements of literature (see the online lecture on this topic) reveal about ancient Greek cultures and important philosophies and values associated with this era and region