Sophocles Antigone: 441-442bc

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The period that Athens’ Sophocles lived in was a time of important changes to the traditional Greek ways of life. The most significant catalyst of change and concern of the period was democracy. From here stems ideas such as the nature, role and respect of and for the gods, and the individual. The drama of Antigone reflects these concerns in the context it was written through various ways.

Athens in the middle of the fifth century BC was at the peak of its power. It attracted foreigners, writers and artists through its wealth, customs and more importantly the freedom of a democracy.
However, there was tension between Sparta and Greece. The Greeks, especially the Athenians, represented freedom, wisdom and moderation and strongly opposed
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Sophocles uses this technique to emphasize the problematic issues of a tyrannical government and, furthermore, the Greeks’ attitude for a democracy. Creons downfall is caused by his arrogance and stubbornness and disrespect for the gods. These characteristics coincidently connect to the enemy of the time: Xerxes. By this, we can see that Sophocles is reflecting his concerns about the tension between Sparta and Greece and that the best way to run a country is by carefully listening to the voice of the demos.

As has been stated, democracy in Athenian cultural life had a huge impact. It was defined by the high-level of participation by citizens in the process of the government’s decision making. Voices with opinions would not only be proudly and publicly expressed but would function traditionally with the structure of an argument and a counter argument; view and counter view; opinion and counter opinion. Sophocles effectively reflects this structure of Athenian expression through various episodes between characters such as Creon and Antigone, Haemon and Creon, Antigone and Chorus. These episodes also reflect the way Athenians could express concerns and issues through dramatic dialogue on stage. Ideas such as political, religious and philosophical issues showed in such events. Here, in Antigone, the most prominent concern is the need for a democracy; thus, it has been said by

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