E300 Literary Forms Drama Questions on Sophocles, CSU Fullerton Fall 2013



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Note: see the Journal Schedule and Instructions Page for the details on how to keep your journal, how many questions to respond to for each text, etc.

I am revising the set of questions below and will post the revised set soon, but in the meantime, here is the original set, which you're welcome to use if you like them.

1. Do you consider Antigone or Creon the more important character in this play? Or do you consider them both equally important? In your response, consider why one or the other, or both, might deserve the title of protagonist or tragic hero.

2. What vision of rulership does Creon set forth? To what extent does he remain true to that vision? What would you say is Creon's most important mistake, and why?

3. With what powers does Antigone align herself? Would you say that her mission has more to do with personal concerns than with religious piety, or would that be an unfair interpretation of her conduct? Explain.

4. How important is gender in this tragedy? Which of the characters treats it as an important consideration? How does Sophocles' handling of female characters differ, in general, from the way Aeschylus treats female characters?

5. Does the chorus in Antigone get to the bottom of why the two main characters suffer -- do they understand the cause and nature of the tragedy that unfolds in front of them? Explain.

6. How important are the gods in this play? Can you tell with whom they side? Or do they remain inscrutable? Explain.

7. Do you think the way Antigone treats her sister Ismene is proper, given her insistence upon familial piety? What is the basis for Antigone's harshness towards Ismene, and how does Ismene interpret Antigone's approach to the respective claims of family and state?

8. Aside from simply advancing the plot, what is the significance of the Sentry in this play? How does his conduct serve as a foil for more important characters? How does that same conduct undermine Creon's claims about the best way to keep citizens loyal?