Antigone Update—A day devoted to Sophocles’ Antigone

~ A guest post by Christina Lafi and the Antigone team ~

Over the past few weeks, five high school students and a university student have been working with the Center for Hellenic Studies in Nafplion, Greece to rehearse a performance of a key segment of Sophocles’ Antigone in ancient Greek. On March 27 at 8:0010:00 p.m. GMT (2:004:00 p.m. EDT), this dedicated team will record their performance of Antigone lines 441–481 at Trianon, a historic building in the city of Nafplion. The resulting video will be available online, and will  also be shared with a team of American students who will also perform the same portion of the drama in English.

This international educational project was initiated by our community members here at Hour 25. Drawing on the massive open online content (MOOC) known as HeroesX and in a collaborative partnership with the Center for Hellenic Studies, Hour 25 offers readers and scholars access to an evolving, informed conversation about ancient Greek literature that is based upon close reading and thoughtful dialogue. In one of our first initiatives, Hour 25 team members worked together to revise an open source translation of  Antigone. When it was complete, the team decided to use the project to reach out to students in Greece and the US. The goal is to have students in both locations perform the same segment of the text—one in ancient Greek the other in English—and then discuss it together.

The leaders of  the Antigone project in Greece are Christina Lafi, Hour 25 member and Text Editor and Programs Assistant for CHS Greece, and Matina Goga, Communications Coordinator and Programs Development at CHS Greece. Together they organized a team to mentor and facilitate the student performers. Lafis and Goga approached Mr. Ioannis Petropoulos, Director of the Center in Nafplion, who guided the students in reading the ancient text with attention to the meter and pronunciation. As the students began working through the text, they had many questions: How should the ancient Greek vowels and consonants be pronounced? What was their impact on the performance and the audience? Over time, the students were excited to witness their transformation into the characters Antigone, Creon, Ismene, and members of the chorus.

Below is a segment of the text these students are performing:


θέλεις τι μεῖζον ἢ κατακτεῖναί μ᾽ ἑλών;


ἐγὼ μὲν οὐδέν: τοῦτ᾽ ἔχων ἅπαντ᾽ ἔχω.


τί δῆτα μέλλεις; ὡς ἐμοὶ τῶν σῶν λόγων
ἀρεστὸν οὐδὲν μηδ᾽ ἀρεσθείη ποτέ:
οὕτω δὲ καὶ σοὶ τἄμ᾽ ἀφανδάνοντ᾽ ἔφυ.
καίτοι πόθεν κλέος γ᾽ ἂν εὐκλεέστερον
κατέσχον ἢ τὸν αὐτάδελφον ἐν τάφῳ
τιθεῖσα; τούτοις τοῦτο πᾶσιν ἁνδάνειν
λέγοιτ᾽ ἄν, εἰ μὴ γλῶσσαν ἐγκλῄοι φόβος.
ἀλλ᾽ ἡ τυραννὶς πολλά τ᾽ ἄλλ᾽ εὐδαιμονεῖ
κἄξεστιν αὐτῇ δρᾶν λέγειν θ᾽ ἃ βούλεται.


What more do you want than to capture and kill me?


I want nothing else. Having that, I have everything.


Why then do you wait? In none of your words is there anything that pleases me—and may there never be! Likewise to you as well my views must be displeasing. And yet, how could I have won a nobler kleos than by giving burial to my own brother? All here would admit that they approve, if fear did not grip their tongues. But tyranny [from turannos], having such a good daimōn, has the power to do and say whatever it pleases.

Antigone 497–507

For the whole text, translated in English and revised by members of the Hour 25 Community, you can follow this link.

On the same day, March 27 2015, 1:00–3:00 p.m. EDT, some of our community members will get together to read Antigone together. A series of discussions will follow in the coming weeks.

We invite you to share your thoughts with us about this beautiful text.