Sophocles (c.496–c.406 BC), translated by Theodoridis, G., (contact-email)

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Sophocles’ Antigone, an Athenian tragedy written around or before 441 BC, is part of the Theban plays trilogy, preceded by Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. Though it was written first, its events conclude the trilogy’s timeline. Thought to be the second oldest of Sophocles’ plays, Antigone resumes the Theban narrative after Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes.

The plot centres on Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, who defies Theban king Creon, her uncle, by attempting to bury her brother Polynices. Creon had decreed honours for Eteocles and disgrace for Polynices, both sons of Oedipus who died fighting each other for the throne. Antigone’s act of rebellion, prioritizing familial duty over state law, forms the crux of the story.

Written during a period marked by Athens’ military action against Samos, where Sophocles himself was a general, Antigone avoids direct political commentary but explores the pitfalls of autocratic decision-making through Creon’s character, a king to whom few will freely speak their true opinions, and his tragic condemnation of Antigone, which he deeply regrets as the play concludes.

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Theodoridis, G.,

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