June 8th Antigone workshop in class
June 15th Final class. Portfolios due.
The Individual and the Community
Power and Cultural Values
Antigone, The classic Greek play by Sophocles, represents an intense struggle between
the powerful and the weak as manifested through clashes in cultural values. We see
this struggle through each character’s personal beliefs, and through forces of law,
gender, politics, and institutions. In this play, as in many tragedies, those who, on the
face of it, might be considered to be weak, ultimately undo the powerful, and sometimes
Why do you think this is the case? What was Sophocles’ intention?
For your final original paper, you will compare and contrast the cultural values of two
characters in the play — Antigone/Creon, Creon/Haimon, or Antigone/Ismene —
and describe how their positions motivate their actions, and to what results. You will
draw what information that you can from the text to describe the characters’ cultural
position, and then argue HOW this informs his/her choices and responses in the play.
To develop your comparison, think about the following questions. (It is helpful in a
compare/contrast paper to keep a list for the characters as you read.)
• What cultural values does each character stand for?
• What part of the community does each character represent? (Family,
government, women, “the people,” etc.)
• What is the central tension between the characters?
• What do they believe about the forces of law, gender,
politics, institutions and/or spiritual beliefs?
• How do they describe the meaning of justice, responsibility and/or
• What motivates them to pursue a specific course of action?
• Why/how have the powerful become so vulnerable in this play?
It is really important that you build your analysis of these characters based on THEIR
worldview, not yours. While we can use our perspectives to bring new insight into the
choices the actors make, we cannot judge them by contemporary standards. As much
as possible, try to “live” in their world; don’t force them into ours.
That said, don’t lose site of how contemporary these issues are! We all know an
Antigone and a Creon; an Ismene and a Haimon!
v to developing a specific, argumentative thesis;
v to writing a focused introduction and conclusion;
v to offering appropriate examples from the text to support your argument;
v to observing the conventions of the college essay; present tense, 3rd
v to using correct grammar and punctuation.
v to including a Works Cited in correct MLA formatting. (See Hacker for how to
You are welcome to browse the Internet to help you better understand this play, and if
you wish, you can draw from credible Internet sources – no Wikipedia, please ––as
well to build your argument. However, you need to be very, very careful to use only
credible sources, and to avoid plagiarism.
Be aware, though, that since this play was written over 2400 years ago in Greek, it has
been translated many times. Therefore, the information you find on the Internet might
not match exactly with the Dover edition.
You must CLEARLY and CORRECTLY cite any sources you use. ABSOLUTELY
AVOID PAPER MILLS, which are on-line sources for college papers!
You are free to read about the play and learn what others think, but your writing and
analysis should reflect your own critical thinking. (I have attached some supplementary
readings here in the MODULE if you are interested.)
We will discuss this assignment more, and look at more of the play together in
class next Wednesday (6.8)
You should come to class prepared to discuss your approach to this assignment –
based on the models for comparison in your Hacker text– and have basic outline from
which to work in class.
This means that by next Wednesday, you should:
• Read and watch the play and, if you wish, read the supplemental readings in the
Antigone module Canvas.
• Choose your characters for comparison: Antigone/Creon, Creon/Haemon, or
Antigone/Ismene. If you have another idea for a comparison, please run it by me
• Develop a basic outline for comparison, using one of the models for comparison
papers in Hacker.
If you have any questions, PLEASE use the Discussion board I’ve opened in Canvas for
Writing your paper:
v Your paper should be 3-4 pages in MLA formatting.
v Make sure you have a clear thesis and underline it in your paper.
v Use specific examples from the play to support your analysis and cite them according
to correct LMA guidelines for plays. These are described in your Hacker. In our edition
of Antigone it is difficult to identify the actual lines, so instead of the line(s), include the
v Include a Works Cited.
v Include a process letter
I will grade these papers based on the following criteria:
• Attention to the instructions given for the assignment! 10 points
• Correct MLA documentation of all in-text citations and a correctly formatted Works
Cited. This is very important, so read your Hacker carefully! If you have questions,
please use this week’s DB to ask them and don’t wait until the last minute! 10 points
• Graceful integration of quotations and paraphrases into your paper. 10 points
• Appropriateness of selected quotations and paraphrases. 10 points
• Organization and coherence of the content. 10 points
• Grammar, spelling and sentence structure. 10 points
• Pizzazz and creativity! 10 points
• Turning a paper in on time. 30 points (So, late papers lose 30 points!)
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