Sophocles' Play Antigone

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In this essay I am going to discuss the form and structure of

Sophocles play Antigone, I will look at how Sophocles structured this

play and comment on this, I will also compare it to a typical Greek


The typical structure of Greek tragedies had a Prologue and a Parados;

there would then be four alternating Episodes and Stasimons. To end

the play there would be finally a fifth Episode and then an Exodus.

The structure of Antigone was slightly different to this as Sophocles

broke the trend and added an extra Episode and Stasimon; this is

significant as it was the first time this happened in the Greek


Sophocles used a Prologue in Antigone at the start of the play. The

Prologue is normally between one or two protagonist and in Antigone it

was Ismene and Antigone in the scene. This is helpful for the audience

as it sets the scene and shows us some of the mythological background.

It also sets the play into its context which is in a time of war.

The Prologue is followed by a Parados which is the entrance of the

Chorus. The Chorus would enter in the Parados with singing and

dancing. They would then compare the story being told with a

mythological background “He fled, fled with the roar of the dragons

behind him”

Following the Parados is the first of six Episodes, an Episode is a

scene between two or three Protagonists and this is where the story

unfolds. Sophocles is credited with introducing the third protagonist.

During the Episodes we discover how the characters think and feel

about their situation, with the Chorus and other characters.

Then is the first Stasimon of five Stasima. This is where the Chorus

re-iterates the key points of the previous Episode and gives the

audience a chance to reflect on what happened in the previous Episode.

The Stasima are used to introduce the characters in the next Episode.

A Sophoclean Chorus was made up of 15 men; it was never women as women

were not allowed. The Chorus sang and danced which brought spectacle.

The Chorus was also known as the Perfect Audience as they would react

the way the director had intended the audience to react. The Chorus

links the story to a larger mythological framework for example they

link the death of Antigone to the death of Danae. The Chorus also

comments on action during an Episode this is called Kommoi “You mean,

then, sire, to put them both to death?” The Chorus also represents

part of the collective community, in Antigone this could be the Theban
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