The laws of heaven and earth in conflict with the human heart and the bonds of blood. Sins of fathers, duties of sisters, conflict of brothers. These are the elements of the timeless Greek play, “Antigone” from the moment Creon, king of Thebes, proclaims: “Gentlemen, the ship of state is safe.” Safe at last from the ravages of civil war, in which the two sons of Oedipus had destroyed each other in combat. King Creon went on to say that one son, Etoclus, died defending the state and would get a hero’s burial. The other, Polynices, died a traitor and would be left for the vultures. And woe unto anyone, Creon warned, who went and buried Polynices in defiance of his law.
But Antigone, sister to the two dead brothers, was resolved to follow a higher law. It was the gods’ command that the dead be buried: so bury her brother she must, no matter threats or consequences. Family, state, man, woman, conscience, power. Sophocles’ Antigone is this hour on the Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Greg Nagy, Professor of Classics at Harvard
Charles Segal, Professor of Classics at Harvard
Francois Rochaix, director at the American Repertory Theatre.