Sophocles ' Influences On The Play ' Antigone '

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Sophocles’ background influenced him to write Antigone. One important influence on the drama was the author’s life in the “golden era” of Athens during fifth century BCE. In that time, Athens was experiencing much change in all facets, and drama was a major factor in Athenian culture. In his essay “Sophocles,” Ed Downey reports that Sophocles was born at the beginning of the “golden era” in Athens and lived a long life influenced by “the artistic and cultural achievements in the ancient Greek world”. Sophocles was a wealthy and highly educated, “happy man.” As a young man, Sophocles began his playwright career, eventually becoming one of the greatest writers in history although only seven of his works are still intact (1). Similarly, the setting for Antigone is ancient Greece in the city Thebes during the time that Greece was experiencing tremendous change in traditional parts of Greek politics and culture. Per Jennet Kirkpatrick in “The Prudent Dissident: Unheroic Resistance in Sophocles’ Antigone,” this culture “recognized women as objects. Both Ismene and Antigone, however, demonstrates that ‘Sophocles’ imagined women as subjects, not objects” (404). In addition to his life in the “golden era of Athens,” another influence on the drama was his role in the Athenian government and religious society. Downey explains that Sophocles was a general for the army and was a priest that was very well respected. This influence in Antigone is seen through Creon’s religious role in the story and Antigone’s desire to bury her dead brother. Downey records that during this “golden age,” Athens, Greece was reaching many achievements, was very religious, and the art of tragic drama was tremendously popular. War was in session, and that influenced ... ... middle of paper ... ...view of what the role of a woman was assumed to be and pushed his views of government and religion in the play. Creon was tyrannical in the way he ruled and religion was superior to man. Another reason that this drama rates high is that it has a significant purpose. In the 21st century, the characteristics of the individuals in the play are evident. Antigone fighting for what she believes is right can be presented as equivalent to Martin Luther King Jr. or Abraham Lincoln. In speaking up against the wrong doings against society, two different outcomes are possible; one where we are punished for doing so, just like Antigone. And two, getting our point across and living to tell it. The purpose of this drama is correlated with the modern day and reinforces the theme that determination to be right and to do what is right can sometimes cause mistakes that cannot be fixed.
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