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Antigone Lesson Plans


Antigone is the last play in a famous Greek trilogy, written by Sophocles. The Oedipus trilogy told the story of Oedipus, a tragic Greek hero, who defeated the sphinx and saved Thebes, but unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. While it was not written last, the Antigone play is the final chapter chronologically in a story filled with human suffering at the hands of fate.

Student Activities for Antigone Include:




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Essential Questions for Antigone

  1. Should we rebel against laws that go against our conscience?
  2. How do our values and responsibilities shape our interactions in life?
  3. What does our response to conflict teach us about ourselves?
  4. Are we defined by our actions?

Additional Activities for Antigone

  • Have your students locate important Antigone quotes and create storyboards to illustrate them.
  • Have students create a storyboard with the stage background and illustrate a set they might design for Antigone performances.
  • Have students research Ancient Greece and illustrate the daily life of a person in that time period.


Antigone Summary

The Antigone play takes place in the war-torn city of Thebes. After Oedipus has left the city, his sons, Eteocles and Polynices, fought for the throne. Polynices besieged the city with foreign troops. Both died during the fighting, and this leaves Oedipus' brother-in-law, Creon, to rule. While he buried Eteocles with full funeral rights, Creon declared Polynices a traitor, and forbade anyone in Thebes from burying him. This was a powerful statement; the Greeks believed that this meant the unburied soul could not enter the afterlife.

Antigone, the sister of Polynices and Eteocles, decides to defy her uncle and ensure her brother enters the afterlife. All she must do is sprinkle a little dirt on him, and he will be set free. She succeeds, but is discovered, and is brought in front of her uncle. She doesn't deny the allegations when questioned. He sentences Antigone to death. Later he speaks with his son, Haemon, who is Antigone's finance. It becomes clear that even his son disagrees with Creon's choices. The two argue, and when Creon threatens to have Antigone executed in front of them, Haemon storms out. Creon orders that Antigone should be walled up in a cave, and left to die.

The famous seer, Tiresias, arrives and advises Creon to bury Polynices. Even though Creon stated he would do as Tiresias says, he does not, and Tiresias predicts that Creon's actions will bring a plague upon the city. Creon heeds Tiresias's words, fearing the wrath of the gods, and he decides to spare Antigone's life. It is too late. While Creon is giving Polynices a proper burial, Haemon finds Antigone has hanged herself. When Creon arrives at the cave, Haemon tries to kill his father, and when he fails, kills himself. The queen hears her only living son is dead, and she stabs herself, but first she puts a curse on her husband. Creon is left at the end of the play, alive, but filled with sorrow.


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