Date of publication: 2017-09-02 15:15
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Teiresias, or Tiresias, is a blind prophet who warns Creon that the gods do not approve of his treatment of Polyneices body or the punishment of Antigone. Creon insults Teiresias, believing that he s simply blackmailing him for money, but the prophet responds with a prophecy foretelling the death of one of Creon s children and a warning that all of Greece will despise the king if he does not relent. Creon realizes that Teiresias has never been wrong and that he must do his bidding. The prophet is an important part of Sophocles vision: through Teiresias, the will of the gods is made known, and his very existence implies that there is a definite will of the gods that is far above the domain of man s law.
So what goes down in Antigone's Thebes? Short answer: nothing good. Long answer: Big King Creon decides that nobody gets to bury the body of the traitor Polyneices. Polyneices just has to rot out in the open. which is both a) not very sanitary and b) in direct opposition with religious doctrine. But rebel-with-a-cause (the cause is "bury my brother") Antigone decides to do a bit of grave-digging, even if gets her landed in jail.
6. What are the central issues that frame the central conflicts in the play? What is the audience asked to consider and learn from their dramatization?
Haemon is the son of Creon and Eurydice and is engaged to be married to Antigone. In a dramatic dialogue with his father, Haemon defends the moral basis of Antigone s actions while warning his father that the people of Thebes sympathize with her determination to bury Polyneices. He and his father part in anger, as he simply asks his father to do what s right for Thebes, and his father stubbornly follows the path of least resistance. Haemon s devotion to Antigone is clear at her death, he is so distraught that he tries to kill his father and then kills himself.
But if you're itching for a hair-rending, crazy-tragic, feel-bad story you pretty much can't do better than Antigone. Or should we say you can't do worse ?
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For modern readers, the Chorus may be the most alien element of the play. Greek drama was not meant to be what we would consider naturalistic. It was a highly stylized art form: actors wore masks, and the performances incorporated song and dance. The Chorus delivers much of the exposition and expounds poetically on themes, but it is still meant to represent a group of characters. In the case of Antigone , the Chorus is constituted by the Theban elders, old and powerful citizens of the city who watch and comment on the action. It interacts with the actors, and in Antigone the Chorus intercedes at a crucial point near the end of the play.
Eurydice is Creon s wife and Haemon s mother. Broken by her son s suicide, she kills herself, calling curses down on Creon for having caused the tragedy.