Sophocles, Antigone

Melissa Mueller (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
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First performed at the Great Dionysia in Athens in the early spring of 442 or 441 BCE, Sophocles’


revolves around the tragic clash of wills between Oedipus’ daughter Antigone and her uncle Creon, currently the king of Thebes. The action begins the morning after Oedipus’ sons Polynices and Eteocles have killed each other in combat. Polynices’ body lies on the battlefield, unwept, and unburied—carrion for the vultures. Polynices had led an army of Argive soldiers against his native city, hoping to reclaim the throne that Eteocles refused to cede. The two brothers had agreed to share the rule of Thebes (rotating on a yearly basis), but Eteocles changed his mind once he was in power. Yet it is Polynices, whose name means “much strife”, who is cast in the role of the…

1903 words

Citation: Mueller, Melissa. "Antigone". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 August 2013 [, accessed 21 June 2024.]

6558 Antigone 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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