Delahoyde & Hughes
They figure this one was written and produced before Oedipus Rex. There’s not much dramatic irony here, so perhaps that indicates it was not a familiar story. Indeed, no source has been found. Later in Thebes, tourists could visit “Antigone’s Drag” where the body was dragged to the funeral pyre.
Antigone becomes a symbolic figure of resistance to authority and tyrannical power. The gods below demand it, burial is seen as a right, and the duty of women kicks in. Does she give voice to a higher authority than the State? Or just a different one? Irreconcilable positions.
Others are concerned about her family loyalty, but a sister disowned, and besides: in this family!?
[not the same one as in Euripides’ Medea]
is not the tyrant of melodrama and not all villainous. He expresses attitudes about politics and religion shared by the Athenian audience. His first speech gives a favorable impression, but he may later seem more tyrannical when he blurs loyalty to the state with loyalty to himself (an absolute power phenomenon). The play was mined for quotations regarding politics later due to the democratic principles contained in it.
He thinks in material terms and expresses himself in monetary language.
Historically there’s a tension between the new democratic institution stressing the equal rights of citizens vs. the old powerful families operating in factions.
The religious case is difficult to appreciate now, but the city gods functioned as protection (e.g., the Parthenon is a temple to Athena on the rock of the Acropolis).
Antigone gets “shut up.” Should she have gone so far? Her actions brought no one any happiness so far as we can see. Did she have a deathwish (in a sense was she asking for it?)?