Historical Context in Antigone
Antigone belongs to Sophocles’s trilogy of plays set in the ancient city of Thebes. The other two plays are Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) and Oedipus at Colonus. All three plays take place before, during, or after the reign of King Oedipus. Although the events of Antigone take place after the other two plays, Sophocles actually wrote Antigone first. The play follows the structure of a classic Greek tragedy. Traditional Greek tragedies begins with a Chorus, which in this case are a group of Theban elders. As with many Greek tragedies, the action takes place within a single day.
Another key characteristic of Greek tragedy is the tragic hero. This hero must be neither entirely good or entirely bad, but instead display some good characteristics which are coupled with a tragic flaw. Both Antigone and Creon fit this description and serve as tragic figures in this play. In accordance to Greek tradition, this play would have been performed by a troupe of actors at one of two Great Dionysian Festivals held each year. These festivals were central to the cultural life of Ancient Greece, and were hosted at the public expense.
Historical Context Examples in Antigone:
"And through our streets we Thebans shout, All hall to thee Evoe, Evoe!..." See in text (Antigone)
"In the deep-embosomed glades Of the Eleusinian Queen Haunt of revelers, men and maids, Dionysus, thou art seen...." See in text (Antigone)
"In the wild Thracian land, There on his borders Ares witnessed..." See in text (Antigone)
"Take this solace to thy tomb Hers in life and death thy doom...." See in text (Antigone)
"With food no more than to avoid the taint That homicide might bring on all the State, Buried alive...." See in text (Antigone)
"But strewn with dust, as if by one who sought To avert the curse that haunts the unburied dead:..." See in text (Antigone)
"Each left behind his armor bright, Trophy for Zeus who turns the fight;..." See in text (Antigone)