thoughts on: oedipus trilogy (or more importantly, antigone) by sophocles


So I may have exaggerated slightly in my last post. Oedipus didn’t turn out as mind-numbingly boring as I’d originally thought – although I suppose Oedipus really was that boring. It was really Antigone that I enjoyed out of the three books/plays/whatever by Sophocles, and, against all odds I found myself actually enjoying Antigone.

(That’s actually pretty sad, though, that I enjoyed Antigone, a play about a girl burying her dead brother that ends with practically all the characters dying, by a long-dead, slightly morbid Greek guy, more than I enjoyed An Abundance of Katherines and – dare I say it? I dare. – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, who does seem to be a cool guy, and not as morbid as Sophocles. None for you, Green.)

But can we talk about how badass Antigone is? First of all, this was written back in ancient Greece, aka no women’s rights movements. I admire the republics of the ancient Greek city-states and the liberated roles Spartan women played, but let’s be realistic – there’s no denying that men dominated society back in those days. To see a women, let alone one from a shamed bloodline (thanks, Oedipus) being portrayed as an exemplary Greek, well. That’s pretty awesome.

Maybe Antigone isn’t a superhero. Maybe she’s not Artemis, shooting people and righting wrongs. But in my opinion, that’s not the definition of a strong character / woman / person. It’s simply the fact that she has a very clear moral code, and will follow it, quite literally, to her death. As a general rule, I’m not really into the typical ‘martyr’ storylines or tropes. In fact, I’m not really even into the ‘black-and-white’ viewpoint of right and wrong displayed in Antigone. (I’m actually the most morally gray person I know, if that’s any indication.) But I love her anyway.

“Antigone” was written about 440 years before Christ. It’s safe to say that there are more than a few moral discrepancies in the play (don’t even get me STARTED on Creon, that misogynistic little – well, you get the picture), but at the same time, had Sophocles written another book/play on Antigone rather than Oedipus “Pity Me” Rex, she might have made it on my all-time list of fictional characters.

(P.S. Also, can we talk about Haimon’s love for Antigone? Poor guy. Aside from his name containing 2/3’s of one of my favorite bands, I liked him. He made the scene – the number escapes me at the moment – where Creon was being a complete misogynist actually bearable. And he gave me a lot of heart pains because of his love for Antigone.)

(I still cry about it.)


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