In Antigone what does Ismene mean when she tells Antigone in the Prologos, "Your heart is hot to do cold deeds"?
Ismene is Antigone's last remaining family member now that their brothers and parents are dead. As such she knows Antigone better than anyone else does. In this scene Antigone reveals that she is planning to bury their brother Polyneices's body, which has been strictly forbidden by Creon and is punishable by death. Antigone's plan seems rash to Ismene—her accusation that Antigone has a "hot heart" speaks to her passion and stubbornness, yet Ismene sees her act as a "cold deed" that will land her in deep trouble if she is caught. Ismene worries for Antigone since so much tragedy has already befallen their family. Her "hot heart" is the same attribute that led their father Oedipus to his death. Ismene wants to believe that Antigone cares more about the fact that they are each others' only remaining family members rather than she does about risking her own life out of a sense of justice.
In Antigone what does Creon's treatment of the guard in Episode 1 reveal about his temperament?
Creon, the newly appointed king of Thebes, is a stubborn and arrogant ruler. Thebes has just recovered from an invasion, and he feels that in order to quell any potential uprising among the citizens he must rule with a stern fist. Creon's encounter with the guard in Episode 1 reveals him to be suspicious and contemptuous of even those who are attempting to obey him and be transparent. The guard is clearly nervous to convey the news about Polyneices's body to Creon, who immediately accuses him of hedging and hiding something "ominous." Creon also accuses him of taking bribes and dismisses him contemptuously rather than thanking him for the information.
In Antigone how do the ideas of lawfulness and justness clash in Episode 2?
Creon and Antigone represent the opposing ideals of lawfulness and justness. Creon believes that his laws are just and that to disobey them is unjust—it's as simple as that. He cannot understand why Antigone views his law as unjust, and he offers her no mercy even though she is a member of his family and his daughter-in-law to be. When Creon asks her, "And yet you dared to break those very laws?" Antigone responds, "Yes. Zeus did not announce those laws to me." Antigone finds Creon's law regarding her brother unjust, and she believes that the laws of the gods trump the laws of mortals. She's not afraid of death and not afraid to stand up to Creon for what she believes in. She would rather be rewarded in the afterlife by the gods for honoring them.
In Antigone what evidence explains the causes of Antigone's determination to give Polyneices a burial?
It's important to Antigone that she give her brother a proper funeral for a few reasons. She believes that it is dishonorable to both her brother and the gods to leave his body unburied. In the Prologos she tells Ismene, "I'll do my duty to my brother" and says that she "won't be caught betraying him." These lines convey that she sees burying his body and giving him funeral rights as a familial duty that conveys respect to both his life and the gods. She also says, "My honours for the dead must last much longer than for those up here," meaning that it is more important for her to do right by her deceased family member than to worry about Creon's possible punishment. This notion reveals Antigone's belief that she will be reunited with her loved ones in the Underworld, and so she must do her best in this life to honor their deaths. Later in the play Antigone also mentions that this is an act she would only carry out for her brother, not her children nor her husband, since they are replaceable but a brother is not. What she means by this is that she can get married again or have more children—but she only has two brothers, who are irreplaceable. Duty, respect, and honor are all important reasons for Antigone to give Polyneices a proper burial.
In Antigone what does Creon's attitude toward Antigone in Episodes 2 and 3 reveal about his views of women?
Creon doesn't try to hide his belief that women are inferior to men—a belief that demonstrates another of his tragic flaws since he underestimates Antigone's strength and stubbornness. He would rather crush Antigone than debate the ethics of law with her in Episode 2, even though he knows that she is right about the laws of the gods taking precedence over the laws of men. In Episode 5 he tells Teiresias, "Even if Zeus' eagles should choose to seize his festering body and take it up, right to the throne of Zeus, not even then would I, in trembling fear of some defilement, permit that corpse a burial." Creon reveals here that he knows he is defying the gods but that he believes his laws are more important—and he certainly doesn't like a woman reminding him of this. After it is revealed that Antigone is his future daughter-in-law in Episode 3, he tries to convince Haemon to "spit this girl out" since she is now their enemy. In response to Ismene's persuasion not to punish his future daughter-in-law, he tells her it will be no problem to find Haemon a different wife. Creon's attitude reveals that he finds women to be disposable and stupid.
What influence does the god Dionysus have on the Chorus in Antigone?
In the Parados the Chorus notes that Dionysus (also known as Bacchus) is the protector of Thebes, and throughout the play they call upon him to keep its citizens safe. After the battle of Thebes is over they call upon him in order to "strive now to forget with songs and dancing all night long, with Bacchus leading us to make Thebes shake," which demonstrates their reverence for the influence he has in their city. Later in Stasimon 5—once they believe the worst is over—they begin to rejoice in Dionysus's name, and their excitement also reflects the way that worshipers of Dionysus would work themselves into a state of frenzy. Their relationship with Dionysus stands in contrast to Creon's relationships with the gods—whereas the Chorus are thankful and reverent of Dionysus's impact, Creon cares less and less about impressing the gods as the play wears on. This contrast shows the audience the ways in which Creon can be seen as disrespectful of the gods by holding his laws above theirs.
In Antigone to what degree is Antigone doomed by her fate?
Fate plays a large role in the play, though the characters are presented at various points with the options to exercise free will. The Chorus applauds Antigone for exercising her free will to bury her brother, but they also note that her tragic fate may have been sealed by the actions of her father, Oedipus. Fate is handed down from generation to generation in Antigone. Many references are made to Oedipus's fate throughout the play, suggesting that Antigone's fate is connected to his and dooming her even before birth. In Episode 4 the Chorus tells her that "perhaps your agonies are paying back some compensation for your father." This notion brings up the question of how much free will Antigone has, or if all her choices, regardless of what they are, will lead her to the same doomed outcome.
In Antigone how do Ismene and Antigone differ in their beliefs about what is lawful and just?
Ismene is more hesitant and reluctant than Antigone. She believes that men are stronger than women and therefore women should not disobey them. Her fear of Antigone's actions is also rooted in the knowledge that tragedy has already deeply struck their family, and it may be the case that she is trying to defend them from their fate while Antigone openly challenges their fate. Ismene feels that they have everything to lose while Antigone feels they have nothing to lose other than respect from the gods. Even though Ismene would rather Antigone obey Creon's decree, she still comes to Antigone's defense when she is caught, demonstrating that she is willing to be loyal and sacrifice her life if necessary. Antigone is set on her course from the beginning and is disdainful of Ismene for disagreeing with her and refusing to help her.
In Antigone how does the Chorus's extended use of nature metaphors reflect the struggles of the characters?
Throughout most of the stasima the Chorus connects the actions of the characters to larger themes: fate, free will, love, and knowledge. They use nature metaphors to develop these themes. In Stasimon 1 for example, the Chorus uses the metaphor of men traversing stormy seas, struggling to gain knowledge and power that can be used for good or evil—the choice is their own free will. This metaphor is mirrored in the internal and external struggle Creon faces in governing Thebes and making the right decision about Antigone's punishment. In Stasimon 2 the Chorus again uses the metaphor of a "surging ocean swell" "falling upon whole families" to convey the struggle that mortals face when they commit actions that the gods disapprove of. This nature metaphor refers both to Creon's disobedience of the gods in leaving Polyneices unburied and to Antigone's fate as determined by the actions of her father, Oedipus.
In Episode 3 of Antigone in what ways does Haemon in discussion with Creon about Antigone make the better argument?
Haemon emerges as a surprisingly deft arguer in his conversation with Creon. Even though he is much younger he approaches Creon with compassion and sincerity, telling him that for as much as he loves and honors his father he disagrees with his decision. Haemon is careful never to bring his feelings for Antigone into the discussion, but rather he tries to advise his father from a logical or political standpoint: the citizens of Thebes do not support his decision so the decision may be unwise. Since this isn't what Creon wants to hear he takes on the role of the whiny child in their discussion, becoming enraged and insulting his son's wife-to-be.
Antigone Study Guide
Sophocles (c. 497/6– 406/5 BC) is, along with Aeschylus and Euripides, one of the three ancient Greek tragic playwrights by whom complete plays survive. He won at least twenty victories in the tragic competitions, and never came third (last), a feat which suggests that he was the most successful of the three. Seven complete plays of his survive, of which Antigone and Oedipus Tyrannus are the most well-known and frequently performed. The following three essays explore the play's themes and context.
Sophocles' Antigone in Context by Professor Chris Carey
Greek tragedy is a remarkable fictional creation. We are used to a theatre which can embrace past and present, fictitious and historical, bizarre fantasy and mundane reality. The Athenian theatre was far more limited than this. Like virtually all Greek poetry at all periods in antiquity, its subject matter was heroic myth. Invented plots with fictitious people and events were very few (and not found before the late fifth century). Historical tragedy (the staple of theatre from Shakespeare to the present) again was very rare. With very few exceptions, tragedy was about heroes. For Greeks at any period, the world of the heroes meant the world which they met in epic poetry, and especially Homer, the ultimate Greek classic.
Because we are so used to Greek tragedy, we don’t usually stop to notice how strange all this is. The heroes are members of a superior elite. And the epic world is always ruled by kings. It has assemblies, and they matter; but they don’t have power. Hereditary monarchy had become a rarity in Greece long before the rise of tragedy. So the epic world was politically remote. In fact, of all Greek states in the classical period, Athens was probably the furthest removed from the political world of epic. In democratic Athens public policy and legislation were in the hands of the mass assembly. Yet for two hundred years and more mass audiences sat in the theatre of Dionysus and watched plays about kings sponsored by the democratic state.
The issue is of course more complicated than this. Firstly, the world of the epic was a very familiar world to the Athenian audience. Epic poetry was performed every year at the civic festivals, which meant that the heroic age was a shared possession for the vast audience in the Athenian theatre, not just the property of an educated elite. Secondly, the world inside the plays and the world in which the audience lived were engaged in a complex and shifting relationship. In any attempt to represent or even to understand the past, the present acts as frame which shapes presentation or perception; we may or may not be aware of it, but it is always there. Literature which deals with the past therefore has a foot in two worlds. This includes Greek tragedy. Tragedy is riddled with anachronisms, on politics, gender, ethnicity, status, even technology (people in tragedy write letters and suicide notes, for instance, while in the epic world writing is completely absent except for one very mysterious passage in Homer’s Iliad). The effect is to make the tragic world a middle space where heroic past and present meet.
This makes the tragic stage an ideal space to explore political issues of interest to democratic Athens. Not all tragedy is political and not all of the political questions are unique either to Athens or to democracy. But Athens (with rare exceptions) was unusual among the classical Greek states in its openness to dispute and dissent and Athenian drama is almost unique in Greek literature in its ability to explore areas of actual or potential political tension.
This is true in the case of Antigone. Anyone in the audience listening to the newly appointed regent Creon might well catch echoes of contemporary sentiments about loyalty to the city. The rhetoric of devotion to the city above all else and at any cost which Sophocles puts in his mouth sounds very like the rhetoric of the democratic statesman Pericles in the historian Thucydides (Pericles even goes so far as to claim that we should all be lovers of the city). The sentiment has a powerful appeal. This was a world of citizen soldiers and a citizen was expected to fight and if necessary die for the city. As Creon says: ‘This land – our land - is the ship that preserves us and it is on this ship that we sail straight and as she prospers, so will we.’ But his insistence on loyalty to the state to the exclusion of all other allegiance prolongs into the present the rifts of the past and proves disastrous for the next generation of the family and robs him of his family.
The issue of burial which forms the focus for conflict in this play had political echoes. Burial was a vitally important aspect both of family and of civic life. For the city it was a means both of honouring devotion and also of punishing disloyalty. The world of this play is not just postwar but post-civil-war. The dead Polynices came with a foreign army to take his home city by force and died in the attempt. In Sophocles’ Athens anyone executed for treason could not be buried in Attica. So some features of the play probably sounded very familiar. Democratic Athens demanded a lot of its citizens and at the probable date of Antigone this was visible especially in the treatment of the dead. As far as we know Athens monopolized its war dead to a degree unmatched by any other Greek state. Where most Greek states simply buried their dead on the battlefield, Athenian practice was to collect and burn the dead and bring the bones home. They then held a state funeral and buried the war dead in communal state graves (excavations for the new Athens metro unearthed one such burial just a decade ago) with no designation of family, just the name of their tribe. The war dead are now the property of the city. At the same time private grave memorials almost disappear. It looks as though only public burials, and specifically those for the dead warriors, matter. But by tradition the family not only buried its dead but also made offerings every year at the family tombs; and the job of preparing the dead and the lead in mourning fell to the women. By the late fifth century the private memorials, including memorials for those who died in war, become more common, and it looks as though the tensions between the demands of the state and the needs of the family have been resolved. But tensions there probably were and death and burial was one of the key areas. Issues such as family or individual versus state are Greek issues as well as Athenian issues. But they were probably present in Athens to an unusual degree and were at their most visible at the time Antigone was performed in the late 440s.
Antigone is not about Athens’ burial of the war dead. And it is not about contemporary democratic ideology. It is a story about a clash of wills, a clash of principles and a clash of loyalties. About power and its limits and legitimacy. About commitment, tenacity and integrity. And it is not a sermon. It throws up more questions than it answers. It could play in any theatre of the Greek world, as it has played in countless theatres in many languages since. But for its Athenian audience the echoes of contemporary areas of tension gave it an added intensity.
Questions and Activities:
- How would the experiences of ancient Greek theatrical audiences have differed from those of modern ones? How might that affect our appreciation of Sophocles’ Antigone?
- If you were to translate the basic story of the play into modern Britain, what aspects would you change, what would you retain, and why?
- What difference would it make if Antigone were staged in a contemporary setting, rather than the distant past?
Antigone and Creon in Conflict by Dr. Dimitra Kokkini
Antigone is a play full of intensity. Audience (and scholarly) responses have always been conflicted when it comes to analysing both characters’ arguments. For some, secular law and rationality, as expressed by Creon, are right, while Antigone’s religious approach is to be rejected as irrational. For others, Antigone’s argument is the only one with validity. The remaining views recognise various degrees of legitimacy in both arguments, eventually proving the impossibility of the task in discerning right from wrong in this conflict.
Despite the fact that this explosive clash highlights the vast differences between Creon and Antigone in terms of world views and loyalties, it also brings to the fore their similarities in terms of characterisation. Creon continuously asserts his power, both in terms of social and gender status; he is the ruler of the city, in fact, its defender in what is seen an unlawful attack by Polyneices against his own fatherland (the gravest of sins in civic terms). Moreover, he is a man, faced with an insubordinate, stubborn, powerless female who is also a member of his own family and under his jurisdiction and protection. Antigone, on the other hand, continuously asserts the validity on her argument in religious and moral terms, being, at the same time, constantly aware of her limitations due to her gender and position in the city and her own family. Yet, although they both take pains to highlight the unbridgeable gap between them, contrasting civic/rational (Creon) and family/religious (Antigone) duty, they are remarkably similar in the way they approach and respond to one another. Both are characterised by unyielding stubbornness, a deep belief in the rightness of their own value system, and complete failure in identifying any validity whatsoever in each other’s argument. Both insist on upholding their respective values with obstinate determination to the end: Antigone dies unchanged, whereas Creon’s change of heart comes too late having first caused the destruction of his entire family.
More importantly, neither of them are easily relatable – or indeed sympathetic – characters. Antigone is often too self-righteous, obsessed with honouring Polyneices at all costs. She is dismissive of Ismene, almost indifferent to her betrothed, Haemon. Creon is equally obsessed with administering what he perceives as justice, as well as upholding his law and punishing the offender, he is cruel and dismissive towards his son. It is easier for us, the audience, to identify with Ismene, Eurydice or Haemon. Ismene, a foil for Antigone and her exact opposite, is arguably less determined and daring than her sister; but she is also much closer to an everyday person, aware of her limitations and hesitant to challenge authority and the laws imposed by a ruler. Antigone may be admirable for her bravery and resolution, but she is also extraordinarily distant to ordinary human beings. Although she presents herself as a weak woman and speaks of all the typical female experiences she will be missing with her untimely death, she functions more like a symbol – some say she is almost genderless. Ismene, however, appears to be more human, displaying a more conventional kind of femininity, which renders her pitiful but also more relatable as a character.
In a similar way, we feel more pity and sympathy for Haemon than we do for the two protagonists. His attachment to her is evident in a rare tragic instance of a young man being in love, but it is hardly reciprocated. Antigone’s fixation on honouring Polyneices leaves little room for the development of any other relationship. Haemon fights, unsuccessfully, with his father in an attempt to save his betrothed and, when this fails due to Creon’s refusal to repeal his decision, his response is rash and emotional. This is a young man in love, who is denied his chance to be with his beloved and, on seeing her dead decides to take his own life out of grief. In contrast with Antigone, whose suicide is consistent with her characterisation throughout the play and is directly related to her immovable value system, Haemon’s suicide is full of pathos and his motivation feels more easily understandable in terms of personal relationships and youthful desperation. His death functions as the trigger for Eurydice’s suicide, the culmination of Creon’s catastrophic decisions and Antigone’s unyielding position. Her appearance on stage is limited to one scene, with her uttering one single question to the Messenger before departing in silence, ominously, after the death of her son is confirmed, never to reappear on stage.
Antigone and Creon are caught in an impossible circle of stubbornness, miscommunication and destruction. Together, they manage to cause utter grief and ruin for their family caught in a conflict of ever-increasing intensity as they pull further and further apart. Antigone’s death and Creon’s remorse cause pity and reveal the utter futility of their conflict at the end of the tragedy; but the fate of the other characters, the innocent bystanders entangled in this mighty clash of wills, beg for our sympathy and compassion as much as the protagonists, if not more.
1. Which character from the play do you sympathise with the most and why?
2. ‘Creon and Antigone are more similar than different to one another’. To what extent do you agree with this claim?
3. To what extent must tragedy always depend on conflict?
Conflict and Contrast in Sophocles’ Antigone by Dr. Tom Mackenzie
Perhaps more than any other Greek tragedy, Sophocles’ Antigone has captured the interests of philosophers, ranging from Aristotle (fourth century BC) to Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) and beyond. Most famously, the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) saw the tragedy as depicting, at its core, a conflict between the abstract principles of the household (the oikos) and the state (the polis), embodied in the characters of Antigone and Creon respectively. When we come to watch the play, it is not hard to see why this interpretation has proven immensely influential. On a purely formal level, the two characters dominate the action more than any of the others. It is their decisions – Creon’s to impose the sanction against burying Polyneices, and Antigone’s to bury him nonetheless – that cause the events of the narrative. Antigone is the eponymous heroine whose initial speech opens the play, whilst Creon receives more lines than any other character and is the exclusive focus of our attention after Antigone’s departure in the latter part of the tragedy. The two characters thus bookend the action onstage, a structuring device that seems to illustrate the contrast between them. It is sometimes claimed that Greek tragedy typically focusses on a single character, but if that is the case, then Antigone is an exception to this tendency, for Creon and Antigone appear to be of equal concern.
Many aspects of the play can be taken to suggest that the two characters are indeed representative of certain contrasting principles. Perhaps the most obvious contrast is that between male and female: Ismene initially opposes Antigone’s act of defiance partly on the grounds that they are women, and so ‘cannot fight against men’. Creon further emphasizes the gender division in claiming that Antigone will be ‘the man’ and not him, if she is to challenge his authority with impunity. Several other statements of his also betray this anxiety. Antigone’s defiance of her uncle, her closest living male relative, markedly transcends the normal behaviour expected of women in fifth-century Athens, a notoriously patriarchal society with severe restrictions on the freedom of women. The contrast in genders also evokes wider political and cosmic polarities: women’s influence was supposed to be restricted to the oikos, whilst Athenian politics was exclusively a male activity: the welfare of the city was thought to be the responsibility of free males alone. Antigone’s act is one of loyalty towards a close relative, a member of her oikos – but it is seen by Creon as an act against the interests of the state. His edict was pronounced in order to protect Thebes, and he explicitly criticises anyone who ‘values a loved one greater than his city’, a statement which inevitably recalls Antigone’s defiance. Indeed, part of this initial speech was quoted by the fourth-century Athenian orator Demosthenes as a positive, patriotic sentiment, a fact which may suggest that Creon, at least at this point in the play, could be taken to embody civic values.
Yet Antigone herself does not see the conflict as one between the oikos and the polis so much as one between the man-made laws of the city, and the unwritten, permanent laws of the the gods. It is to these unwritten laws that she appeals in justifying her actions against Creon’s proclamations. The Greek word for ‘laws’, nomoi, has a broader scope than the English term conveys – it can be translated as ‘conventions’ or ‘customs’ and can cover the religious duties such as burial of the dead. There is nothing metaphorical about such ‘unwritten’ nomoi: Aristotle even quotes Antigone in recommending lawyers to appeal to unwritten laws when the written laws are against them. For Antigone, there is a conflict between these unwritten laws, and those pronounced by Creon.
Accordingly, the two characters have different conceptions of justice and the just. The Greek word for justice, dikē, and its related adjectives, occur frequently throughout the play. Both Creon and his opponents, Antigone and Haimon, appeal to dikē to support their decisions. Creon seems to identify justice with the will of the ruling party, whilst for Antigone and Haimon, it is a super-human concept that is independent of the arbitrary decisions of any mortal ruler. This dispute reflects contemporary debates surrounding the nature of justice: Plato, writing in the first half of the fourth century BC, depicts the fifth-century thinker Socrates as arguing that justice is natural and objective, against opponents who argue that justice is simply the will of the more powerful. In Sophocles’ play, there is little doubt that Creon’s conception of justice is proven inadequate. That the downfall of his family and his personal suffering come as a direct result of his actions is assumed by all remaining characters at the end of the play. His folly reveals a central predicament in Sophoclean drama and in Greek theology: there is a divine, cosmic system of justice, but it is one that is usually impossible for mortals to understand until it is too late. The motif of ‘learning too late’ is commonplace in Greek tragedy, and Creon conforms to this literary convention, as the chorus’ statements at the end of the play make clear. Only a select few mortals – notably the blind prophet Teiresias – can have a privileged, albeit still limited, understanding of this system before the catastrophes unfold.
‘Justice’, or rather dikē, in this sense of ‘divine order’ was taken by some early Greek philosophers as a governing principle, not only of ethical behaviour, but also of the rules of physics. Anaximander (early 6th century BC) saw the universe as composed fundamentally from opposite qualities – such as the hot and the cold, the dry and the wet – that give each other ‘justice and reparation’ for injustices committed, as a result of which some balance is maintained in the universe. Similarly, Heraclitus (late 6th century BC) saw ‘justice’ as keeping the Sun within its established limits. Viewed in this context, we can see Creon’s actions as violations of this cosmic order: the deceased Polyneices ought to be buried, but Creon prevents that from happening; conversely, he orders Antigone to be entombed whilst still alive. After his punishment, he himself becomes, in the words of the messenger, a ‘living corpse’. The balance is thus settled for Creon’s blurring of the distinction between the living and the dead by refusing Polyneices’ burial.
This enactment of cosmic ‘justice’ might be taken to support the notion that Creon and Antigone embody contrary principles. Yet their actions can also be explained by recognisably human motivations: Antigone no longer fears death, and even expresses suicidal thoughts, because of the immense suffering that she has experienced in the form of her family’s tribulations; Creon is a new ruler who is paranoid that his rule is not accepted – he refuses to back down as he fears it will undermine his authority. The characters appeal to general principles, which place their specific conflict in a wider cosmic context – it is perhaps this feature which has aroused such philosophical interest in the play – but they are not reducible to those principles alone. Creon is a flawed and inconsistent ruler, and Antigone’s ultimately self-destructive act is detrimental to her household, for it prevents her from continuing the family line. The play thus presents conflicts of principle and of character, but offers no easy resolutions: Antigone’s desire for Polyneices’ burial may be vindicated by the course of the narrative, but the gods still allow her to perish. In developing the imagined consequences of these conflicts of both character and principle, Sophocles unsettlingly exemplifies one of the virtues that Aristotle identified in the plots of great tragedies: that the course of events seems inevitable, but only in retrospect.
Questions and activities:
1. Should you be more loyal towards your family or towards your country? Come up with reasons in support of both sides of the argument – how do your reasons compare with what is said by Antigone and Creon?
2. If we do not agree with traditional Greek beliefs about the the gods and justice, how does that affect our appreciation of the play?
3. Given that she knows that this action will lead to her death, is Antigone right to bury Polyneices? Explain your answer with reference to the text.
4. I’ve learned through my pain (Creon): What exactly has Creon learned? Does the play make this clear and does it matter?
Suggested Reading and Further Resources
An enormous amount has been written on Greek tragedy in general, and on Sophocles' Antigone in particular. The following may be recommended as accessible introductions to the play and the genre:
Brown, A., Sophocles' Antigone (Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1987) - an edition of the Greek text with translation and commentary.
Cairns, D., Sophocles: Antigone (London: Bloomsbury, 2016) - a recent introduction to the play.
Griffith, M., Sophocles: Antigone (Cambridge: CUP, 1999) - an edition and commentary of the Greek text, with an introduction that is accessible to the Greekless reader.
Hall, E., Greek Tragedy: Suffering Under the Sun (Oxford: OUP, 2010) - a recent introduction to the genre, with specific discussion of Antigone on pp.305-9.
Scodel, R. An Introduction to Greek Tragedy (Cambridge: CUP, 2010) - another recent introduction to the genre, with specific discussion of Antigone on pp.106-119.
The above works may be consulted for more advanced bibliography.
Short clips of professor Felix Budelmann (Oxford University) discussing Sophoclean drama, and Antigone in particular, are available here.