Antigone Essay

June 29, 2015

Content 6

Reading and then writing an essay on Antigone is probably not going to be most students’ favorite thing to do. And, in fact, unless they enroll in a certain literature courses or are English or drama majors, most students will not face essays on Antigone. The other groups of students who will encounter Antigone are those enrolled in a university that still requires a traditional, classical program of underclass requirements and, of course, students in graduate programs in literature.

Sophocles is considered the “father” of dramatic tragedy and is best known for his Oedipus Trilogy, the last play of which is Antigone. In fact, a number literary experts insist that Shakespeare took many of his general plot “starters” from the Greek tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides.  Antigone, in fact, may have been the catalyst for Romeo and Juliet. And for these reasons, professors of literature and drama will include Greek tragedy as units of study within their course curricula.

If you should face an Antigone analysis essay, you have a large number of options, just as you would with any major piece of literature. Consider some of the following, as you choose potential Antigone essay topics:

  1. An Antigone tragic hero essay might explain how Antigone herself fits the model of the tragic hero in classical drama.
  2. An Antigone persuasive essay could easily be written to convince the reading audience that Shakespeare, in fact, chose the characters of Haemon and Antigone for his Romeo and Juliet characters. While their tragic “flaws” are not quite the same, and while Antigone herself does not share the same physical or personality traits of Juliet, they both are “star-crossed” figures in love relationships.

The following Antigone essay prompts might help you select a good topic:

  1. Classical tragedies all contain the factor of fate, and Antigone is no exception. Discuss the theme of free will vs. fate as it applies to the actions of Antigone. Which of these controls her more?
  2. All societies must have rules in order to establish order. Discuss Creon’s concepts of “rules” and their often cruel implementations. How do these lead to the death of his own son?
  3. To what extent do Antigone’s “flaws” of stubbornness and determination contribute to her death?
  4. Why do you think Haemon chose Antigone over her more beautiful and compliant sister, Ismene?
  5. How has power corrupted Creon?
  6. Which characters control their own fate? Which characters do not?
  7. Three people commit suicide in this play. Discuss whether each of these characters is succumbing to fate or running away from fate?

Answering any one of these Antigone essay question prompts can result in a great topic and thesis.

The Antigone theme essay will be a common assignment, and you will need to select one of the themes, develop it relative to the play itself and then speak to its universality. For example the following essay topics would be good ones:

  1. An Antigone pride essay might address this character trait as a positive one when held in moderation but a devastating trait when carried to extreme. Who in the play had extreme pride and how did it result in their tragic ends? (Hint: tragic end does not always result in death)
  2. Sibling rivalry is also a theme in this play. Discuss this theme as it relates to Antigone and Ismene and relate it to other pieces of literature in which this is a theme.
  3. Free will vs. fate is a really common theme in literature, especially tragedy. How does Antigone engage in free will, thus defying Creon’s decree, and seal her own “fate” that she claims is inevitable?
  4. Rules and Order: Compare Creon’s “rules” and his cruel implementation of these rules regarding his subjects to other more modern dictators.

If you want to be a bit unique in your thematic Antigone essay, you might consider the theme of loneliness. Who is lonely throughout the play and who is left alone at the end? What other popular literature addresses loneliness as a theme?

Struggling with the challenge of an essay on Antigone?

The play itself is not that complicated. What complicates it for the essay writer is the need to analyze and to get a bit creative in the treatment of a specific topic. If you find yourself struggling with such an essay, the literary writers at are always available to assist.