Antigone

by Edie Wadsworth on October 31, 2012

It is with deepest affection that I welcome my wonderful bookish friend Michele, who blogs at The Great Read, no less, to give us some insight into Antigone! I love her dearly and consider her a true friend. She’s been such a wonderful source of wisdom and encouragement to me and has graciously agreed to help with book club. Welcome, sweetie Michele!

“Your wisdom appealed to one world ~ mine, another.”
                                                                                                              ~ Antigone (Sophocles)
I’ll admit it. When Edie named Antigone as the next book for her Read Well ~ Live Well Book Club, my heart was stone cold sober. Sophocles? My friends are all swooning over Gone Girl and Killing Kennedy. Sophocles? 
But I put the brave rebel named Antigone on hold at the library anyway. Because I trust Edie’s literary judgement and I’m nothing if not a book club good girl.
Here is where I am today. Antigone is blowing me away. I ran into a girlfriend yesterday and blabbered on and on about the loyalty and bravery of Antigone in the face of death. About the contrast and heart-wrenching, beautiful completeness of a sister’s love. About the differing views of a woman’s place in the home, in society, in speaking her mind (I have quite a bit to say on that last subject). 
Oh, and the colossal knee-weakening premise, which world are we appealing to?
Reading this classic inspires our inner Columbus, our Amelia Earhart. We all have an inner earth (some call it an imagination, but I tend to lean towards the dramatic). A freshly made globe that is ours alone to map. With each chapter read, we plant in new soil a personal flag of discovery. 
And here is my favorite part about embarking on a new quest – with books being a magical transportation. We find out that we are not alone. Waiting there for us are others, like Edie has done here, and they welcome us with hospitality and homecoming. 
I’ve made bookmarks as a memento of our journey. Just right click on the bookmark, copy and paste it in MS Word and print. I glued a few pieces of construction paper on the back of mine to make it sturdy.
So where did Antigone take you? I am so excited to start discussing! Edie is such an inspiring example that sharing really does make life sweeter.
 
xoxo Michele

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ruth November 6, 2012 at 9:39 am

“With each chapter read, we plant in new soil a personal flag of discovery.” Loving this quote, Michelle. Thank you for this post and I love these book marks!!
In this Greek tragedy you themes that are relevant today. Creon’s pride led to a great, tragic loss. He lost his family because he did not want to seem weak and show mercy to Antigone. He was selfish and unable to see what had led Antigone to defy his law.
I truly enjoyed this play. I have been challenged by the classic works chosen and look forward to more. Thank you, Edie!!

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2 Calypso November 6, 2012 at 9:50 am

Wow!
I THINK I read Antigone back in high school? I think I was a freshman.. I DO NOT REMEMBER ANY OF THIS. I remember the crazy gouging eyes out bit and the wandering aimlessly. We had a mock trial on the story putting the main character on the stand as he was accused of murder.
I think I better go back and read this one.
Many thanks!
I love finding these types of jewels in classic literature.
My book club is reading Anna Karenina. Although Russian literature seemed droning to me, I am surprised that I’m really enjoying this work. It took about 160 pages but now I’m all in!
Thanks for the post.. and the book mark!
Oh! It reminds me of an F Scott Fitzgerald quote:
“That is part of the beauty of literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
http://pinterest.com/pin/62346776062211000/

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3 Michele November 6, 2012 at 10:05 am

Thank you, Edie, for inspiring all of us to head towards home. Thank you, Ruth and Calypso, for the comments and joining into the discussion. These stories aren’t what we sometimes refer to as bubblegum stories – they don’t lose their flavor after a few minutes. The subject matter is as timely today as when it was written because they deal with issues of the heart. Pride. Power. Love. Family. Honor. Justice. Calypso, you bring up such a great point – should these classics be read in high school? Junior High? Are we at a point in our lives where they will have an impact? Or should they be read yearly, like our forefathers read them, from the time we are young. Can’t wait to discuss.

xomichele

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4 Calypso November 6, 2012 at 11:24 am

There are some classics that are needed in the high school curriculum: To Kill a Mockingbird, Our Town, Julius Caesar. However, none of those books made an impact on me until years afterwards. To Kill A Mockingbird is a work I read every year or every 6 months if I can. I always find a new tidbit that I missed the first time. Our Town’s message is classic.. again, as a ungrateful youth I had no idea how to stop.. be here now and enjoy each precious second because we are not guaranteed the next. As I started to gain life experience.. these books and their words came back to me.. they laid the foundation. Julius Caesar wasn’t exactly understood to me until a year or two ago when relationships failed, people failed me and all the while they played so “honorable”. Mark Antony’s words came to me when I started to really discern people and read their true characters after some unfortunate heartbreak: “the evil that men do lies after them.” I do believe these books need to be in the curriculum as they are the foundation or weapons that will give our children the strength to overcome adversity.

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5 Ruth November 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Reading them yearly as our forefathers did, is a great point. Everytime you read them you grasp some new piece of knowledge.
I agree with Calypso, that reading them in high school is necessary, by it is basically only an introduction of these classics into our lives. Then we are too young and inexperienced to truly appreciate the lessons in these stories. It is only through experience and life lessons that we begin to appreciate the heart issues addressed in them.
Ruth

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6 Kerri November 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Thank you again Edie for this book club! I know I have read all of these books in high school and college, but I certainly have a much different (and more mature) view of them! and thank you sweet Michelle for your insight and the bookmark! I saw it in the picture and was thinking, “where can I get one!”

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7 Katherine @ Whitehall November 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I think re-reading the classics is a great idea. That is how you really get to know them. Not only does our perspective change, but we will find new things in the language the more we read. The very reason they are classics is because of how much they can offer the reader without regard for the specific circumstances of any given time period.

I loved reading a play, and the brevity, but also the excitement and quickness of action that came with it. I couldn’t put it down. I then read Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus right afterward (in the same book as Antigone), because they were so engaging.

I read in the introduction that modern people often are sympathetic to Antigone, yet the Greek audience would have taken Creon’s perspective (up until about when the Chorus changes viewpoint). Our society is so very different than the ancient Greeks, even in democratic Athens. Our whole view of the role of the polis (or the state), versus the role of the citizen is vastly different. Even the family and the household would be subservient to the state. Yet, the Gods would not be subservient, and so Antigone’s dilemma so not necessarily between her familial obligations and her obligation to the rule of law, but between the rules of the state versus the rule of the Gods. See?…timeless!

There is so much rich material in this short little play.

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8 Michele November 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I’m with you, Ruth – these are to be added to my personal library and re-read every year. So thrilled you will enjoy the book-mark, Kerri – I love making them for books/plays that I just don’t want to end. I’ll be making some in a few weeks for Christmas gifts – let me know if you have a specific book you’d like and I’ll add it to my post. ;)

Katherine, I’m swooning over your “Antigone’s dilemma so not necessarily between her familial obligations and her obligation to the rule of law, but between the rules of the state versus the rule of the Gods.” I feel like these are issues we as sisters, daughters, wives, mothers, etc. deal with on a regular basis but don’t always express – and when Antigone said “your wisdom appealed to one world ~ mine, another” I felt like Sophocles had summed up in one sentence what my heart sings every day. I can’t stop raving about the truth and beauty found in this treasure of a play.

xomichele

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9 Calypso November 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

That reminds me of another quote:

“Summer vacation is a time for reading, and my friends come to me to borrow books because I have so many more than most people. In their innocence, they have no idea what I go through in lending a book. They don’t understand that I think of
myself as offering them love, truth, beauty, wisdom and consolation against death. Nor do they suspect that I feel about lending a book the way most men feel about their daughters living with a man out of wedlock.”
— Anatole Broyard

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10 Carin November 7, 2012 at 1:06 am

I totally agree that the classics need to be read, or at least attempted, in high school, but that it is just an introduction because we are too young and inexperienced to fully grasp the layers of wisdom within. But much of what we are told to read in school, and how we are told to it, are subjective to where we live. You talk about “To kill a mockingbird” above, so let me offer you an example… I’m a Swede living in the UK who took classical litterature at school, and was never told to read that. Why? Because in Sweden we concentrate on the European writers, especially the Russians and the Germanics. I don’t even remember reading English lit like Shakespeare or Austen, they were mentioned, but not delved into any deeper. Anyway, what I’m trying to say, our reading and interpretation of classics is highly subjective to where we live. Had we studied “to kill a mockingbird” at school, we would most likely have focused on something completely different to what Americans focus on, so we need to take that into considerations when we look at classics too. Ok that makes me want to read Harper Lee now lol.

I have still to read Antigone, I’m still on the Oddyssey as I only just joined the bookclub, but your review is great Michele. And thanks so much for the bookmark! xoxo

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11 Calypso November 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

Yes, it would make sense other locations would have a different contemporary curriculum. To Kill a Mockingbird is from an American author and the themes were specific to a shameful time in our history. Also, there are references or allusions specific to the southern regions of America that wouldn’t make sense to someone not immersed in the American culture. That being said, the story is a timeless one and almost every culture deals with the tragedies of racism.

The Bible, greek/norse/roman literature are timeless, universal even. The Bible should be part of the school curriculum as most poetry and literature is a derivative of its stories and teachings.
Just like most music today has its roots in classical music. I hear it all the time… but I grew up playing the piano and learning all those pieces.

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12 Kristie November 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm

What have I missed? I am so disappointed….where is the book club talking about Plato’s Republic ? Obviously it is outstanding…

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13 Jan December 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm

What is the next book the book club is reading?

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