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ch18jason - Classics 10 Chapter 18 Spring 2010 Jason and...

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Classics 10: Chapter 18: Spring 2010 Jason and the Myths of Iolcus [Thebes: Antigonê and Sophocles] I. Origin of the Golden Fleece II. Jason and the Argonauts III. Jason and Medea Get the Fleece
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End of Chapter Seventeen Oedipus and Thebes: Antigonê
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Thebes After the Seven Oedipus’ sons now being dead, the kingship goes to Jocasta’s brother Creon Creon declares Eteocles a hero, Polynices a traitor, declares that anyone who buries a traitor is punishable by death Right of the defeated to bury their dead generally granted in Greek world Circumstances of civil war make the question very difficult; Creon very loyal to Thebes
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Sophocles’ Antigonê (441 BCE) Antigonê defies Creon’s order, offers Polynices symbolic burial (last rites with a handful of dust) Claims that the laws of the gods demand burial and that those laws are greater than the laws of Creon and the city Family vs. city; individual vs. group; woman vs. man Young vs. old; traditional vs. progressive Both sides have speeches in which they defend their view; well balanced play
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Sophocles’ Antigonê (441 BCE) Creon feels he has to kill Antigonê, so condemns her to be shut up in a tomb Blood won’t be on his hands (sound familiar?) Creon’s son Haemon (who’s engaged to Antigonê) tries to intervene, but Creon will not listen; he reveals himself to be a tyrant Antigonê seems desirous of suicide and martyrdom, thinks death is glory Both sides have a point, but both seem too loyal to their own view: this is Sophoclean tragedy
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Sophocles’ Antigonê (441 BCE) Tiresias warns Creon of divine consequences if he does not yield, so he yields Free Antigonê and then bury Polynices, says Tiresias Creon buries Polynices and then goes to free Antigonê: this order is his ultimate mistake Is this pride? Bad luck? Or smart? Creon finds that Antigonê has hanged herself The grieving Haemon tries to kill Creon, but fails; kills himself; so does Creon’s wife Tragic hero really Creon, for he is forced to suffer while Antigonê is almost eager to
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Antigonê: Revenge of the Parthenos ? Politically, Antigonê is the conservative and Creon is the progressive Sophoclean advantage: likely Creon Philosophically, Creon advocates customary law ( nomos ) and Antigonê natural law ( physis ) Sophoclean advantage: likely Antigonê Gender-wise, Antigonê is the untamed parthenos which no civic power can stop Sophoclean advantage: very likely Creon Sophocles the progressive man who yet believes in natural law? His hero = a flexible Creon?
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Sophocles and Thebes Our most influential evidence for Theban myth: Sophocles, obsessed with power of the divine Sophocles made Oedipus and Antigonê so famous for us; Greeks found the Seven Against Thebes the highlight Sophocles explores limits of human greatness by contrasting human weakness with divine power His heroes: strong characters who are flawed
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ch18jason - Classics 10 Chapter 18 Spring 2010 Jason and...

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