Five Things About... Antigone by Sophocles


This is the fifth time I’ve taught this classical play and the sixth or seventh time I’ve read it. It’s a sort of chicken-or-the-egg sort of situation- do my students love it now because I love it or do I love it now because my students do? I read the other two plays in the trilogy a few years ago and I think they helped- I play up the incest component of Oedipus and Jocasta hard in my background lecture and the kids DIE when they hear about the curse. Boom. Total investment in what one students called “the incest babies.”

There are so many great thematic concepts to discuss with the kids that relate to current events- power/authority, corruption, gender roles, etc… Timeless.
Confession: choral parts are not my favorite, although I see the purpose and appreciate the context. Keep up the good work, guys. 

I had my students read this in small groups, outside, with their masks on, and 99% of them gave me positive feedback on it (I asked on a reading assignment and told them they’d get full credit no matter what). They said that it was great to get fresh air, so something different, that it was easier to discuss with their group, etc… it took six class periods and I loved it too! We will be outside much more often in the future. Take that, covid!

Can we just appreciate Haemon? He tries so hard to rationalize with his father and save Antigone.

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