Friday, March 27, 2015

TFBT: Antigone by Sophocles with Hour 25

Hour 25 performed "Antigone" by Sophocles today.  I played Creon, the once and future regent of Thebes.  I am a big defender of the character.  It is hard to arouse sympathy for the guy when he says the futile, foolish lines that Sophocles put in his mouth.  But it was Creon whom generation after generation picked up the pieces when the royal family went off and got themselves killed. Even with all the heartbreak and tragedy he suffered today, he will pick up the pieces and serve as regent for his great-grandson.  

Everyone did a great job of reading.  I told Sarah that her princess costume was a good look on her, I liked Helene and Janet’s veiled chorus and I though Creon looked like the Tin-Man from the Wizard of Oz. (Oh a tip of the crown to Sarah for staying in character and saving our production when I was muted and speaking.)  

This made for a good close reading where I really heard the words and more strongly understood the characters, Jessica’s Ismene greatly improved my impression of the character.  We all learned some today. 

I’d heard before that the rebel Antigone and Regent Creon were alike, but I really saw this time how obsessed each was with proper order, kosmos; 395, 659, 675 and how unflexable both were, even when advised to be so by their philoi; 1263, 710, 474,   I noticed for the first time when Antigone is dragged before Creon that he never speaks here name nor do they identify one another as uncle and niece.   

Antigone is led away by the guards.(around 943)  then the chorus tells three stories. 

·      1)About the beauty Danae who changed ”the light of the sky for brass-bound walls, and in that chamber, both burial and bridal, she was held in strict confinement.” Sort of like Antigone was about to experience. 

·      2) Then of “the swift-raging son of Dryas, the Edonian king, (who) was tamed in recompense for his frenzied insults,  when, by the will of Dionysus, he was shut in a rocky prison. “ Again like Antigone

·      3) Then “ the accursed, blinding wound inflicted on the two sons of Phineus by his savage wife. It was a wound that brought darkness to the hollows, making them crave vengeance for the eyes she crushed with her bloody hands and with her shuttle for a dagger.” Like Antigone’s dad?  Then the chorus discusses  their mother stripped of her marriage…and in far-distant caves she was raised amidst her father’s gusts. She was the child of Boreas.”  I don’t think being raised in a draft cave by a god is the same as mortal entombment. 

What has the deeds of Phineus second wife Idaea daughter of King Dardanus  of Scythia, have to do with this?

I will attach the various links to text and video as available.


  1. I think that the Chorus lists various precedents of people who were imprisoned or buried alive, like Antigone. Some of these people were eventually released, others died. Maybe the Chorus wonders how Antigone's story will end.

    I think that the philoi of Antigone and Creon, of all people, had least chance to convince them - because, in the context of the situation, these philoi are regarded as traitors. Creon is eventually convinced by Teiresias and the Chorus. Then his suspicion that Haemon has betrayed him is 100% confirmed.

  2. Maya M,
    Haemon, sure was not too impressive in all this. I wonder if Tierasis such isn't so much his words but the passive of time. I think,we can envision Creon's grief being the cause of his lyssa, but as time passes his grief get s under control and his sanity returns. Sadly too late to save the young people


  3. Haemon, however, is the lever of the supernatural forces hostile to Thebes (and maybe to humanity in general). Without him and his suicidal love, the entire episode would be unimportant. Antigone would die, the gods would be angry, Creon would perform rituals and sacrifices to appease them, end of story. Few would lament Antigone (pay attention that nobody laments her at the end of the play, except presumably Ismene who is offstage). Any city and any family would regard her as a liability.

    One could ask, after there was Teiresias who was allegedly always right, why didn't the Thebans establish a nice theocracy with him as head of state? It must have been rather annoying to try to rule a city and to be visited periodically by some self-righteous seer, who shares none of your responsibility, to tell you how foolish you are and to drop some useless prophecy.

  4. Maya M.

    Your description of Tieresias' interaction with the Theban royal family is perfect. You gotta wonder how long he knew Oedipus' actually identity before it was forced out of him. Shoot Jocasta must have suspected. Tieresias for all his foreknowledge never seemed a whole lot of help when Creon had to pick up all the pieces again, each time. On the other hand, Oedipus and Jocasta probably didn't want to know the truth. Apollo didn't have to curse Cassanadra, people are often in denial about the truth anyway.