Vocabulary in Antigone

Vocabulary Examples in Antigone:

Antigone 5

"No human soilure can assail the gods;..."   (Antigone)

In this context, “assail” means to insult or attack, while “soilure” means a sinful deed. This statement is an example of Creon’s hubris. He believed that nothing a human could do could be seen as an insult or an attack to the gods. This idea is contrary to traditional Greek piety, but in vogue with 5th-century Athenian humanism and rational thinking.

"The divination of my arts shall tell. Sitting upon my throne of augury,..."   (Antigone)

Augury is the practice of watching the sky for the movement of birds and was an important part of Greek prophecy. Teiresias describes himself as sitting upon a “throne” of augury, which further implies he is a seer of noble rank and ability, and should command Creon’s respect.

"With food no more than to avoid the taint That homicide might bring on all the State, Buried alive...."   (Antigone)

If Antigone starves to death, she will technically have been murdered. As such, Antigone must be buried with just enough food to stay alive, so that the state cannot be tainted with a homicide. The Greeks thought that such a live burial would not cause the gods to curse the executioners.

"The din of Ares panic-struck they hear...."   (Antigone)

Ares is the god of war, particularly the irrationality of war. Invoking Ares is often used to suggest war itself. The word “din” refers to a set of loud, continuous sounds such as those created by war.

"For kites to scent afar and swoop upon...."   (Antigone)

Kites are a common species of bird. The Greeks thought that the gods communicated to mortals through birds. Different birds indicated different things, as did the actions of those birds. Since Tiresias is blind, he listens to the birds' cries for oracles. However, Tiresias is an especially powerful seer and could prophesize just as well without birds.