Sophocles' Antigone: Ancient Greek Theatre, Live From Antiquity!

In this lesson from edsitement.com, teachers assign students the role of being reporters who have to cover the premiere of Antigone in Sophocles' Greece.  After completing research about life in Athens and the structure of the Greek theatre, students create a newspaper article highlighting the premiere of the play. This lesson combines research, writing, and performing as students travel to Sophocles' time to report on the opening of his famous play. The source contains guiding study questions and links to web resources. While it is included here as a writing assignment, this lesson could be used for research purposes or even for a performance adaptation of the play.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6
Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two)...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience....
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology's...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8
Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CLE 3001.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3001.2.4
Analyze the style and structure of a challenging speech.
CLE 3001.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3001.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3001.3.4
Revise documents to develop or support ideas clearly, address potential objections, ensure effective transitions between paragraphs, and correct errors in lo
CLE 3001.4.1
Define and narrow a problem or research topic.
CLE 3001.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
CLE 3001.4.3
Make distinctions about the credibility, reliability, consistency, strengths, and limitations of resources, including information gathered from websites.
CLE 3001.4.4
Write an extended research paper, using primary and secondary sources and technology and graphics, as appropriate.
CLE 3001.4.5
Use a standard format to arrange text, to cite sources correctly, and to document quotations, paraphrases, and other information.
CLE 3001.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3001.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3001.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3001.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument
CLE 3001.7.4
Apply and adapt the principles of written composition to create coherent media productions.
CLE 3001.8.1
Demonstrate knowledge of significant works of world literature.
CLE 3001.8.4
Analyze works of literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
CLE 3001.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning from various literary genres.
CLE 3002.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases
CLE 3002.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3002.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, wellconstructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3002.3.4
Revise documents to develop or support ideas clearly, address potential objections, ensure effective transitions between paragraphs, and correct errors in logic.
CLE 3002.4.1
Define and narrow a problem or research topic.
CLE 3002.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
CLE 3002.4.3
Make distinctions about the credibility, reliability, consistency, strengths, and limitations of resources, including information gathered from websites.
CLE 3002.4.4
Write an extended research paper, using primary and secondary sources and technology and graphics, as appropriate.
CLE 3002.4.5
Use a standard format to arrange text, to cite sources correctly, and to document quotations, paraphrases, and other information.
CLE 3002.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3002.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause-effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3002.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3002.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
CLE 3002.8.1
Demonstrate knowledge of significant works of world literature.
CLE 3002.8.4
Analyze works of literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
CLE 3002.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning from various literary genres.
SPI 3001.1.12
Use context clues and/or knowledge of roots, affixes, and cognates to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
SPI 3001.1.13
Select the appropriate word among frequently confused words (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/theyre, it/its, you/youre, whose/whos, which/that/who, accept/except,...
SPI 3001.3.10
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3001.3.14
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3001.3.3
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3001.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3001.4.4
Evaluate the validity of Web pages as sources of information.
SPI 3001.4.6
Identify information that must be cited or attributed within a writing sample.
SPI 3001.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 3002.1.13
Select the appropriate word from among frequently confused words (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/theyre, it/its, you/youre, whose/whos, which/that/who,...
SPI 3002.1.14
Use context clues and/or knowledge of roots, affixes, and cognates to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
SPI 3002.3.11
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3002.3.15
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3002.3.3
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3002.4.4
Evaluate the validity of Web pages as sources of information.
SPI 3002.4.6
Identify information that must be cited or attributed within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.KL.3
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend ...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.VAU.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings in grades 9-10 reading and content; interpret figures...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.KID.2
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development; provide an objective or critical summary.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.KID.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development; provide an objective or critical summary.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.PDW.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.PDW.6
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology's...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RBPK.7
Conduct and write short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem by...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RBPK.8
Use multiple search terms to generate a variety of print and digital sources; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RBPK.9
Support and defend interpretations, analyses, reflections, or research with evidence found in literature or informational texts, applying grade band...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RW.10
Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.3
Write narrative fiction or literary nonfiction to convey experiences and/or events using effective techniques, well-chosen details, and well-structured...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to

  • Appreciate ancient Greek drama through study of a play by Sophocles
  • Evaluate the cultural and historical context of Greek drama and its role in Greek society
  • Reconstruct the experience of seeing a Greek drama performed and share that experience in an imaginative presentation, performance, and report
Essential and guiding questions: 
  • How does Greek drama compare to our modern theater?
  • How do the themes in plays from other times and cultures relate to issues of today?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Extension suggestions: 
  • After students have concluded their performances of scenes, some classes may wish to perform scenes in modern dress and a modern setting as well. Discuss the kinds of choices they will need to make as they place the play in modern times. They need to consider costume colors, sets, furniture, props, etc. Also discuss how the design of the stage and theater influence the acting style and the audience's emotional connections to the action.
  • For English classes interested in exploring the influence of a translation on the audience's perception of the play, have students choose a key episode, then click on the online translation by Sir Richard Jebb at the Perseus Project and the Harvard Classic edition of Antigone translated by E. H. Plumptre Great Books Online (via Internet Public Library), and compare key moments in the Jebb and the Plumptre versions.
  • Teachers of Greek, Latin, or Ancient History will find the Perseus Project website a valuable resource for helping students develop reading comprehension. The site offers texts by Caesar and Cicero, Xenophon and Demosthenes, among many others, in a format that allows students quick access to hyperlinked wordtools, or a parallel translation, for interpretation of a difficult passage. In this environment, reading a classical text becomes an interactive process that reinforces student effort and reduces the frustration that is often the most formidable obstacle to learning. Have students who use the website for reading assignments report to the class about their experience.
  • Selected EDSITEment Websites
    • The Perseus Project
    • "Historical Overview"
    • Sophocles' Antigone, trans. Sir Richard Jebb (an online translation).
    • Sophocles' Antigone, trans. E. H. Plumptre (HTML at Bartleby)
    • "Introduction to the Fifth Century." Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 7-7.1 V.
    • "The Late Archaic City-State." Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander
    • "The Late Archaic City-State: The Beginnings of Athenian Democracy." Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 6.21 V.
    • "Paternalism and Women." Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 5.30. V.
    • "Continuity and Change in Athenian Social and Intellectual History." Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 11-11.1. V.
  • Internet Public Library
    • The Glory That Was Greece
    • "Study Guide: Sophocles' Antigone." Roger Dunkle, City University of New York
  • Internet Medieval Sourcebook
    • Introduction to Greek Stagecraft
    • Study Guide: Sophocles’ Antigone

References

Contributors: