I’m not a huge fan of Greek tragedies, but I do appreciate works like Oedipus and now Antigone. Of the two, I’m definitely team Antigone. The “sequel” to Oedipus, the action is much more condensed and the theme is much clearer. That being said, there is a lot lost. Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and the niece of the current king. She gets herself into some trouble by wanting to bury her brother, who tried to cause a civil war in Thebes. Being a Greek tragedy there’s a prophesy given to the king warning him. He of course ignores it, which just feeds into prophecy, and the suicides commence.
This is where I feel some of the artistry of Oedipus is sacrificed. While Oedipus is complex and layered, I felt that Antigone was more raw. That’s not a bad thing, but without the layers and complexity, Antigone is very raw and blunt. On the other hand, that might be what Sophocles intended. He may have wanted the complex world that Oedipus was set in to have crumbled into this raw, ugly, depressed city. All I know is, why do the Greeks seem to think suicide is the answer to all of their problems?
Either it’s just an over dramatization of the Greek culture, or their lives were really that bleak that suicide was their only option. I pity them if it was the later. Having read several Greek tragedies (and let’s face it, Shakespeare borrows the tragic trope A LOT!), it’s almost expected that the body count starts rising as soon as the first person dies. The important point I took from Antigone was that sometimes fear makes older generations too harsh of young people. And that without young people, society can’t advance.