Explain the purpose of the main characters, minor characters and the chorus in Antigone. (30 marks)
All characters which feature in Sophocles’ play Antigone play an important role somehow; mainly conveying a certain moral or theme. The major characters portray the main themes such as loyalty, whilst some of the minor characters and the chorus explore the theme of prophecy and fate. Antigone is one of/the main character in the play named after herself. However it is debatable whether she is the main character due to the fact that the majority of the play revolves around Creon and his actions, and end in him being alone whilst Antigone has died. Throughout the play she defines the loyalty to the Gods rather than civil obedience- and is the only character to do so. Immediately, Antigone is portrayed by Sophocles as a defiant and important character due to the fact that she is located outside the palace, a place where a Greek woman would not be found unescorted by a male presence. An ancient Greek audience would automatically assume that Antigone and her sister Ismene who is also outside with her were poor, prostitutes or slaves, yet we quickly find out she is neither, leaving us with the first impressions that Antigone is willing to defy the rules and does not fit normal woman conventions in the ancient Greek era. The fact that Creon is clearly astounded when he sees Antigone is responsible for the burial of Polynices against his will clearly shows to the reader that it is unusual for the average woman in ancient Greek society to break from the norms and defy the rules, which is supported by the fact that Athenian men believed that the best women were the ones that were heard the least. The quote “You bring this woman…?” (Line 375); which is said to the Sentry after bringing Antigone before Creon; shows that Creon is confused that it is a woman that has had the bravery to go against the laws he had set. Antigone shows her loyalty to the gods when she speaks to...
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