Sophocles’ tragedy “Antigone” is written on the mythological plot of the Theban cycle. It is not part of a trilogy like the works of Aeschylus, but it is a complete work. In “Antigone” Sophocles shows the contradictions between divine laws and the arbitrariness of man and puts divine laws above all. In the world’s heritage of literature, there are a number of outstanding works that we rightly consider to be masterpieces, and the names of their authors have long become legend. Among these exceptional creations, “Antigone” by Sophocles stands out, and is often included in the repertoire of modern theaters.
At the same time, however, we must be clearly aware that the enthusiastic intonation with which we speak about this classic work can not serve as indulgence for all cases of conflicting interpretations of events and characters, conflicts, and holistic meaning. It turns out that the perception of the artistic heritage of Ancient Greece is complicated by many layers of traditional representations, and between them, such views that are mutually exclusive come across.
If you need to write a paper analyzing this tragedy, check out the “Antigone” essay topics presented here. They will help you if you are struggling not knowing what to write about in your paper. The topics are divided into categories according to the most popular types of essays. In order to get a good idea for your writing, read through the following lists of topics.
“Antigone” Essay Topics for Analytical Papers
1. The effect of character interaction in the play “Antigone.”
2. Which is more important to Sophocles – family or authority? Look at Antigone, Ismene, Creon, and Haimon, and at what happens to them and their relationships.
3. Creon says to his son Haimon that it would be bad enough to yield to a man, but he would never yield to a woman (meaning Antigone). What does the play say about a woman’s place in society?
4. Creon claims that the rule of the king must be obeyed even if it’s wrong in order to avoid anarchy and chaos. Does the play agree or disagree with Creon?
5. What is Creon’s fatal flaw? How does the flaw affect his state? His ability as a leader? His downfall? What does a play that centers on this particular fatal flaw have to say about the qualities that are needed or not needed in a ruler?
6. Look at Antigone, Ismene, Creon, and Haimon, and at what happens to them and their relationships. What is the role of family ties in “Antigone”? Which appears to be more important to Sophocles – family or authority? Why?
7. Choice versus fate in “Antigone.”
8. Punishment, suicide, and the death penalty in “Antigone.”
9. Familial responsibility and respect for subordinates in “Antigone.”
10. Role of women in “Antigone.”
11. Analyze one of the characters of “Antigone” through the lens of psychoanalytic theory.
12. What does “Antigone” say about the different gender roles assigned to men and women in the Ancient Greek city-state? In what ways do some of its characters either exemplify or upset those roles?
13. Analyze the issue of feminism as it relates to “Antigone” and the “Tempest.”
14. Why does Aristotle insist that both virtuous and depraved characters are unsuitable as tragic characters? According to this definition, is the main character of the play “tragic”?
15. Aristotle argues that it is “inappropriate for female characters to be manly or formidable.” Do you think the female lead in the play fits this negative description? Does she seem “inferior” to the men in the play?
16. Theme of pride in the play “Antigone.”
“Antigone” Paper Topics for Compare and Contrast Writing
1. Compare Antigone and ISIS.
2. Compare and contrast how both Oedipus and Antigone are victims of a god.
3. Compare “Antigone” by Sophocles with “Antigone” by Anouilh, and each play’s characterization of Antigone. Analyze how that difference contributes to the overall altered effect/meaning of Anouilh’s version.
4. Compare Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King” and “Antigone.”
5. Compare and contrast Creon in “Oedipus the King” with Creon in “Antigone.”
6. Human nature on contrasting ideologies using examples from “Antigone” and “Winter’s Bone.”
7. Compare Creon’s speech from “Antigone” and George W. Bush’s speech.
8. Compare “Medea” by Euripides and “Antigone” by Sophocles.
9. Compare and contrast Gilgamesh and Antigone in terms of negative and positive qualities and the difference between an epic hero and a tragic hero.
10. How does the family construct influence the identities of the characters Oedipus, Antigone, and King Lear (comparing plays by Sophocles and Shakespeare)?
11. What do the major dramatic works “Antigone” by Sophocles and “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare suggest the reader about the abuse of power and ambition? Compare and contrast them.
12. Compare and contrast “Antigone” and “Persepolis.”
13. Compare women’s roles in “Trifles” and “Antigone.” What roles do the women play? How are they treated? What is significant about how the stories unfold around their actions?
14. Compare Jocasta to her two daughters Antigone and Ismene.
15. Compare the role of, or relationships between, men and/or women, or husbands and/or wives in “Gilgamesh,” “Odyssey,” “Oedipus the King,” and “Antigone.”
16. Compare “Antigone” and “The Great Gatsby.”
“Antigone” Topics for Evaluation Papers
1. Evaluate the play of “Antigone” in terms of the view on gender roles.
2. What is a significant difference between “Antigone” and “Lystrata”?
3. Evaluate the background of Antigone arguing this particular character’s guilt or innocence.
4. How does the play “Antigone” engage with its “world”?
5. According to Aristotle’s concept of a tragedy, explain why Creon is viewed as the “tragic hero.”
6. In the Greek play “Antigone,” as the new king of Thebes, Creon has certain obligations to his recently war-torn city and his people. How would you characterize Creon as a ruler, and how well does he fulfill his duty to Thebes?
7. Antigone is a tragic heroine who believes in her moral duty to the gods over her duty to the state and is willing to suffer the consequences in order to do what is morally right. In other words, should we do what is legal or what is right?
8. How are powerful human struggles that are still relevant today represented in “Antigone”?
9. Evaluate death in Sophocles’ play “Antigone.”
10. According to Nelson Mandela, “in life, every man has twin obligations – obligations to his family, to his parents, to his wife and children; and he has an obligation to his people, his community, his country.” How do the characters in Sophocles’ “Antigone” approach these twin obligations?
11. How were Antigone and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. both symbols of paradoxical doom? Include the concepts of individualism, human rights, civil disobedience, and anarchy to prove your claim.
12. Is the drama “Antigone” a tragedy like “Oedipus the King”? If it is, who is the tragic figure: Antigone, Creon, or both?
13. Evaluate the significance of the stillness of tragedy in “Antigone” by Jean Anouilh.
14. Evaluate the major importance of the minor character Leader in “Antigone.”
15. Since Antigone defies Creon, the one who represents the views of the population, how does she exceed her limitations by defying the law of the state?
16. Evaluate sisterhood in the play “Antigone.”
“Antigone” Essay Topics – Questions for Argumentative Papers
1. Is “Antigone” a study of human actions, with complex emotions? Why?
2. How does “Antigone” demonstrate pre-feminist ethics?
3. What is fate to Sophocles?
4. Who is right – Antigone or Creon – in the play “Antigone”?
5. Was Antigone’s suicide an act of civil disobedience?
6. Is “Antigone” a study of human actions, with complex emotions? Why?
7. What is the role of female characters in drama over the centuries, from “Antigone” to “Trifles”?
8. Is “Antigone” generally a drama of politics, not of fate?
9. How does the play “Antigone” relate to Ancient Greece?
10. Do you like the play? Why or why not?
11. Was Creon from “Antigone” a great king?
12. How do Sophocles’ play “Antigone” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” address the issue of civil disobedience? How does the gender/race of the disobeying individual impact the meaning of the texts?
13. What is the nature of the conflict between Antigone and Creon?
14. How are light and dark images used in “Antigone”?
15. How are two views of law illustrated and argued in the play? Which view is triumphant?
16. What does “Antigone” tell us about men’s and women’s relationships in classical Greek society?
Persuasive Topics of “Antigone”
1. Why does Aristotle insist that both virtuous and depraved characters are unsuitable as tragic characters?
2. What is the moral dilemma faced by a major character, and the action taken?
3. What are motives, or reasons, for the character’s action?
4. What are possible alternatives for the character’s action?
5. What is Antigone and Creon’s relationship with the Grecian Gods?
6. Discuss the various aspects of the central conflict in “Antigone” (political, religious, personal). Who is the tragic hero? Why? How is the play relevant today?
7. What is Sophocles’ agenda in his play “Antigone”?
8. According to “Antigone,” which laws should we follow: the laws of God or the laws of man?
9. On what grounds does King Creon defend the establishment of the decree, and upon what grounds does Antigone defend her defiance of it?
10. Consider the role of Ismene in the play. Describe her character. Is her
passiveness a sign of weakness or real courage? What is her relationship to her
sister, and how do they interact in bringing the play to a conclusion?
11. “Antigone” is sometimes seen as a statement on government, specifically its role
as an authority figure in shaping society. How does Creon fit into this role of
government, and how does Sophocles show that the Greeks saw his position as not
only outdated but ineffective?
12. Describe the relationship between Creon and Haemon. How did this
relationship deteriorate in their fateful confrontation? How, specifically, did
Haemon come to despise his father?
13. Antigone is the towering figure in the play. What do you think of her? Is
she as great as everyone assumes, or is she selfish, egocentric, and wildly
possessed in her quest to find justice for her brother?
14. In what ways does a play reflect the theater or performance space for which it was written?
15. Is Antigone right to disobey Creon and his unjust government, which condemns the burial of Polynices, or is Antigone wrong in her actions because the law should always triumph?
16. The differences in the presentation of violence in “Death and the Maiden” and “Antigone.”
We hope that the presented “Antigone” essay topics will help you to fulfill your writing assignment. If you prefer to write your paper on your own, but don’t know how to start, read through the guides and samples on our blog. After that, you will be able to write a solid paper on your own without any problems.