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The Setting Of The Prologue Of Sophocles’ Antigone

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Chapter Summary

In her influential 1989 study, "Assumptions and the Creation of Meaning: Reading Sophocles' Antigone," Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood argues that the acutely sympathetic portrayal of Antigone offered by many modern readings is misguided-a reflection of the gap that distinguishes the values and concerns of today's readers from those of fifth-century Athenian polis, but also of the failure of modern critics to respond to prompts offered by Sophocles' text. There are two related charges: that Antigone and Ismene are perceived as gathering in a conspiratorial fashion in the dark, which biases the audience against them, and that the audience would in any case regard with suspicion any women who strayed beyond the confines of oikos. The first of these charges points to the much-debated but as yet not fully resolved issue of the temporal setting of the play's opening, which will be examined in this chapter; the second will be touched on briefly.

Keywords: Antigone; Athenian polis; Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood; critics; Ismene; oikos; readers; Sophocles



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