Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss what is reputedly the most performed of all Greek tragedies. Antigone, by Sophocles (c496-c406 BC), is powerfully ambiguous, inviting the audience to reassess its values constantly before the climax of the play resolves the plot if not the issues. Antigone is barely a teenager and is prepared to defy her uncle Creon, the new king of Thebes, who has decreed that nobody should bury the body of her brother, a traitor, on pain of death. This sets up a conflict between generations, between the state and the individual, uncle and niece, autocracy and pluralism, and it releases an enormous tragic energy that brings sudden death to Antigone, her fiance Haemon who is also Creon’s son, and to Creon’s wife Eurydice, while Creon himself is condemned to a living death of grief.

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  • Edith Hall 19 episodes
    Professor of Classics at Durham University
  • Oliver Taplin 3 episodes
    Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Oxford
  • Lyndsay Coo No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Ancient Greek Language and Literature at the University of Bristol

Reading list

  • Sophocles: Antigone
    Douglas Cairns (Bloomsbury, 2016) Google Books →
  • Female Characters in Fragmentary Greek Tragedy
    Lyndsay Coo and P.J. Finglass (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2021) Google Books →
  • Female Acts in Greek Tragedy
    Helene P. Foley (Princeton University Press, 2001) Google Books →
  • History, Tragedy, Theory: Dialogues on Athenian Drama
    B. Goff (ed.) (University of Texas Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • Reading Greek Tragedy
    Simon Goldhill (Cambridge University Press, 1986) Google Books →
  • A Companion to Greek Tragedy
    Justina Gregory (ed.) (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008) Google Books →
  • Greek Tragedy: Suffering under the Sun
    Edith Hall (Oxford University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Heroic Temper: Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy
    Bernard Knox (University of California Press, 1983) Google Books →
  • Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage
    E. Mee & H. Foley (eds.) (Oxford University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • A Companion to Sophocles
    Kirk Ormand (ed.) (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) Google Books →
  • An Introduction to Greek Tragedy
    Ruth Scodel (Cambridge University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • Antigone
    Sophocles (trans. Anne Carson), ed. Edith Hall (Oberon Books, 2015) Google Books →
  • Antigone and other tragedies
    Sophocles (trans. Oliver Taplin) (Oxford University Press, 2021) Google Books →
  • Antigone
    Sophocles (ed. Mark Griffith) (Cambridge University Press, 1999) Google Books →
  • Antigone, Oedipus the King, Electra
    Sophocles (trans. H.D.F. Kitto, ed. Edith Hall) (Oxford University Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • Oedipus/Antigone
    Sophocles (adapted by Blake Morrison) (Northern Broadsides, 2003) Google Books →
  • Antigones: The Antigone myth in Western literature, art and thought
    George Steiner (Clarendon Press, 1984) Google Books →
  • Looking at Antigone
    David Stuttard (ed.) (Bloomsbury, 2016) Google Books →
  • Greek Tragedy in Action
    Oliver Taplin (Routledge, 2002) Google Books →
  • Sophocles: An Interpretation
    Reginald Winnington-Ingram (Cambridge University Press, 1980)

Related episodes

Programme ID: m0015lwj

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Auto-category: 882.01 (Greek drama and poetry)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, Antigone by Sophocles, 496 to 406 BC, is reputedly the most performed of all Greek tragedies today and perhaps the most powerfully ambiguous.