Antigone, the Sequel: PR

Antigone, written by Sophocles and a successor to Oedipus the King, our second assigned “book”. Once again, Sophocles was able to envelop me in the story and gave an enjoyable impression. Although I may have also enjoyed Antigone, it was not for the reasons that allowed me to enjoy Oedipus the King. In Oedipus, I enjoyed the irony that fell upon him. As for Antigone, I enjoyed reading the aftermath of the irony that fell upon Oedipus and the character development throughout the royal family of Thebes.

Antigone is the sequel to the tragic irony that fell upon Oedipus. When Oedipus the King concluded, we learn Oedipus is sent to exile, but did not learn the consequences that followed the tragedy until we were given the “summary” of Antigone. Antigone, the play happens years after the exile of Oedipus where we briefly told who sat on the throne and the events that followed up. I had read books where there was a time skip into the future and felt incomplete. However, the transition in Antigone felt very smooth and made it easy to understand what caused the upcoming event. After the death of her brothers in a duel, the “traitor,” Polynices was left outside to die as a reminder of what happens if you commit treason, Antigone became unpleased and planned to give his brother a proper burial despite it being a crime punishable by death. 

My own flesh and blood-deer sister, dear Ismene, how many griefs our father Oedipus handed down (p.59)

Here, we can see how the tragedy that falls upon Oedipus affects his daughter, Antigone. Later on, we also see Creon argue with Tiresias giving us a flashback of what happened to Oedipus when he tried to revolt against his prophecies. However, unlike Oedipus, Creon learned from him and agreed to listen to him after the Leader joined in.

my king-terrible prophecies. Well I know, since the hair on this old head went gray, he’s never lied to Thebes.

Creon: I know it myself-I’m shaken, torn. It’s a dreadful thing to yield (p.116).

Creon listens to the Leader and agreed to go against his will after the lesson given to Oedipus (p.117). In this sequel, we can see hints of how the tragedy that fell upon Oedipus affected the people of Thebes and the character development of two characters.

Ismene began as the “voice of reason” where she tries to convince Antigone to think properly about the consequences as she states she will give Polynices a proper burial (pp.59-64). After Antigone is placed on a “trail” for burying Polynices, Creon rushed into conclusion that her sister, Ismene must also be involved and summoned her (p.83). However, we get a surprising reaction from Ismene once she arrives (p. 86).

I did it, yes-if only she consents-I share the guilt, the consequences too (p.86).

Although Ismene began by being the “voice of reason” and attempted to convince Antigone that burying Polynices is worth the consequences, she immediately asks to share the consequences with Antigone despite not being part of the burying. This can be seen as Ismene sharing Antigone’s view. Although she did not act upon it. We also see a similar development with Creon. At first, we see Creon as a stone-willed man who places the city, Thebes above everything else, including his own family. Creon initially sentenced Antigone to death by stoning. However, later on, Creon had her sent into a cave far away from the city and pinned with a small ration. Creon mentions that this way, it will not dirty the city of Thebes with any possible sin and will allow the gods to rescue her if they wish. After the prophecy from Tiresias, Creon went against his will and gave the “traitor,” Polynices a proper burial before attempting to release Antigone from the cave. However, Creon messed up and did his task in a reverse order leading to Antigone’s suicide, and Haemon, his son, stabbed himself after a failed attempt to kill his father. Here, Creon cried a loud cry before returning to his castle, showing that he is still human and cares for his family. Once he arrives back, he receives the news of his wife, Eurydice has ended her own life. Creon became mortified and broke down revealing the human side of Creon.

PR: Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King written by Sophocles, our first assigned novel for the year. After reading a “summary” of the play, we began reading on page 159. Our first reading assignment was up to page 198. I found myself confused during the first half but quickly catch on during the second half where it was basically two grown man arguing. As for reading assignments were given, I found myself gaining interest towards the play and began enjoying it. As the story develops, we follow the protagonist, Oedipus reveals more about himself in a hilarious fashion through the many ironic situations. I believe this development is the cause of why I found myself enjoy the play and even participated plentifully in class discussions (possibly more then the entirety of MYP 5.)

When we first read the “summary,” I was drawn into the fact that Oedipus killed his father and married his mother and gave birth to many children. However, when we began reading the play, my view on Oedipus regressed. When Oedipus came to Thebes and crowned king of the fight with the sphinx, Oedipus went on, to find the truth behind the killing of Laius, the former king of Thebes. After receiving no luck when giving out the order of finding the culprit, Oedipus summoned Tiresias (a blind prophet), who was believe to “share the eyes” of Apollo (pp. 174-175). After Tiresias is summoned, Oedipus began questioning the blind prophet. However, even after exclaiming “if any one of you know the murderer / Nothing to fear, even if he must denounce himself / he will suffer no unbearable punishment” (p. 171), Tiresias refuses to give the answer. Oedipus continues to pressure Tiresias in giving him a answer for the next 15ish pages despite Tiresias being “equal in a sense.” Although I understand and admire Oedipus’s determination to find the truth, he went to far as Tiresias proclaimed that he is refusing for his own good. After finally making Tiresias speak, he himself was not pleased with the answer and lashes out on Tiresias. However, after sending Tiresias off, Creon came in and talk some sense into Oedipus. Only then do I start finding the charms of Oedipus as the protagonist of a fictional play.

As Oedipus begins learning the truth behind the killing of Laius, his reaction to the irony placed upon him is beautiful. Watching Oedipus slowly descend into madness as he discovers more information then he wanted, was beautiful and made me enjoy reading the play. Oedipus first curses himself by proclaiming “Whoever he is / let that man drag out his life in agony / by any chance he proves to be an intimate of our house / may the curse I just called down on him strike me!” (pp. 172). As he continues to learn more about the killing of Laius and his connection to the former royal family of Thebes, he became insane and “cursed” the gods (Apollo). In spite, Oedipus pulled out his eyes and proclaimed it was his doing. After going insane and proclaiming his sins and the curses he laid upon himself, Oedipus became calm. He yearned for his children before his leave and prayed to the god. This made Oedipus a man who you just can’t really hate as many of the things he has done were purely his fate. However, you can’t help but laugh at Oedipus as well.

Introducing Aristotle Chang

First of all, I am one of the remaining original student of Brookes Westshore (5th year) along with Michael Penn for DP1.

Hello, my name is Aristotle Chang. I am Canadian as I am born in Vancouver (BC Children hospital, which I love apparently, cause I go there on a almost yearly bases and lived there for a few months.) However, my parents and ancestors are all of true Taiwanese decent. My only true hobby is hunting. This includes fishing and generally all types of sea creature in the West Coast. Not only do I catch them, I eat them. This includes, crabs, prawns (ebi) (EAT RAW), claims, oysters (kaki)(EAT RAW), sea cucumber, sea urchin (uni) (MUST EAT RAW. COOKING IT IS A WAR CRIME), horse barnacle, kelp, snails, and much more. I have also gotten my firearm license earlier this year and I hope to go out and hunt for elk in this year’s hunting season if possible (I have yet to get my hunting license, but I may hunt with my father who is in possession of one.) Other then hunting, I like doing all sorts of activities and is love learning random things (though I may not remember all the information). I guess I also play video games quite a lot, read a lot of manga, and watch some anime.

As for what I hope to do in English this year, take notes and not die.