Ms. Colvin’s Antigone Study Guide

Our Play~ Antigone ~Study Questions

Prologue and Parodos

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Critic Bernard Knox points out that funeral rites in ancient Greece were "the duty and privilege of the women." As Antigone and Ismene are the last survivors of Oedipus's family," . . . it seems to Antigone that Creon's decree is aimed specifically at them. . . . She takes it for granted Ismene will help her and turns . . . contemptuously and harshly against her when she refuses."

1)  Teiresias is a blind prophet. How important might the detail of the prophet's blindness be to the story?

2)  How are Antigone and Ismene contrasted in the first lines of the play?

3)  In lines 25-26, what loaded words does Antigone use?

4)  In line 35, what does this statement reveal about Antigone?

5)  In one sentence, express Ismene's argument against aiding Antigone as she explains it in lines 36-53.

6)  Which of Antigone's last lines (76-81) are meant to produce the most emotional effect?

7)  How does the Parodos differ in tone and content from the Prologue?

Scene 1 and Ode 1

1) In Creon's first words to the Chorus, what were the "storms" that threatened to destroy the Ship of State?

2) What reasons does Creon give for not allowing Polyneices to be buried?

3) How does the end of Creon's speech differ from the beginning (lines 45-49)?

4) How does the Choragos feel about Creon's command (lines 56-59)?

5) How do you know this?

6) What do lines 64-65 reveal about Creon's character?

7) How does the arrival of the Sentry affect this scene?

8) What news is the Sentry reluctant to deliver?

9) How does the Sentry's announcement- there is evidence that Creon's command has been disobeyed-affect the action of the plot?


10)   Retell the order of events of the Sentry's story in lines 98-112.

11)   After reading the first three verses of Ode 1, state the main idea of the first three verses.

12)   On the basis of the final verse of Ode 1, why do you think the Chorus supports Creon.

Scene 2 and Ode 2

1) In lines 18-20, what does Creon's reaction suggest about his relationship with Antigone?

2) Why has Antigone violated Creon's decree (lines 56-63)?

3) How do you feel about Creon's accusation of Ismene (lines 86-92)?

4) In lines 106-118, what is Creon's main point and what is Antigone's?

5) Lines 119-127 have contrasting images of Ismene, one from the Choragos and one from Creon. What are they?


6) In this scene, Ismene wants to join Antigone in the death sentence. From what you know of her, what do you think is her motivation?


7) From what you know of Antigone, why do you think she rejects Ismene and excludes her from the death sentence?


Scene 3 and Ode 3

1) In lines 19-33, what is ironic about Creon's advice regarding Antigone?

2) Look at lines 35-36 and describe the kind of leader that would say these words.

3) From lines 45-48, what would you say Creon fears most?

4) What is Haimon's main argument in lines 51-67?

5) What is Haimon's tone in the lines 51-67?

6) Why does the Choragos refuse to take sides in lines 92-94?

7) Lines 111-112 have Haimon expressing an opinion. How is his opinion like Antigone's? What did she say that was similar?


8) What does Haimon mean in line 119?

9) How has Haimon's attitude changed from the beginning of this scene to the end?

Scene 4 and Ode 4

1) In Antigone's first lines of Scene 4, is she showing regret? What is the tone and mood of the beginning of this scene?


2) Whose fate does Antigone compare to her own?

3) What does Antigone say is the cause of her death?

4) What does Antigone look forward to in death?

5) What curse does she put on Creon?

6) Do you think the "family curse" deserve to be mentioned in this scene? (Lines 39-44).

7) How is alliteration used in line 52?

8) In lines 56-57, Creon says that his hands are clean. Does he believe this or is he posturing?

9) What is the subject of Ode 4?

Scene 5, Paean, and Exodos

**Most ancient Greek tragedies observed three unities-unity of time (with all action in the play unfolding in one day), unity of place (with all action occurring in one place), and unity of action (with all events an important part of developing or resolving the conflict).

1) What is the irony in line 24 of Scene 5?

2) From Scene 5 look at lines 56-57 at notice the alliteration used by Teiresias and Creon. Teiresias uses alliteration in his aphorism. Why does Creon use alliteration in his response?


3) In lines 70-84, what is Teiresias predicting?

4) At what point of Scene 5 does Creon change his tone and attitude? When does he give in?

5) Why does Creon decide to save Antigone?

6) What words does Creon repeat in lines 103-107 of the Exodos? What does this repetition suggest about Creon's state of mind?



"There is no happiness where there is no wisdom; / No wisdom but in submission to the gods. / Big words are always punished, / And proud men in old age learn to be wise."

These are the last words of the play stated directly to the audience. What are your thoughts about these two sentences? Do you agree or disagree? Is this the way life is or is there another point of view?





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