Antigone v. Creon

Sophocles’s Antigone as a Courtroom Drama


Sophocles’s Antigone presents the audience with a serious political question — whether law is capable of resolving fundamental questions of right and wrong or whether it is merely a self-legitimizing discourse in which power is reduced to rhetoric and persuasion and nothing more. Sophocles poses that question and cleverly casts the audience in the role of a jury, asking them to pass judgment on a question that subversively threatens the claim that justice transcends language.

This groundbreaking new English translation offers an authoritative reading of the Greek play as a work of legal literature. It seeks to convey the language of law and the spirit of litigation in the play, which are critically important for understanding the conflict and the motivations of the key characters. It is accompanied by a series of essays serving to guide readers through the play’s legal issues.

The translation offered here — in accurate but idiomatic English free verse — provides a reliable and essential foundation for discussion of the legal themes of the play. This book will appeal to students, academics, lawyers, and anyone with an interest in law and literature, legal theory, or the study of legal discourses in a courtroom setting. 

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

List of Abbreviations


Chapter One: The Antigone as a Trial Play

Chapter Two: Legal Speech and Argumentation in the Antigone

Chapter Three: The Forensic Question of the Play

Chapter Four: Legal and Religious Discourse in the Antigone

Chapter Five: Antigone's Closing Argument

Chapter Six: Creon's Discourse Shift

Chapter Seven: The Verdict of the Antigone

English Translation with Stage Directions and Notes

Appendix A: Trials, Law Courts, and Theatres

Appendix B: Metaphors and Images for Justice in the Antigone

Appendix C: Antigone’s Personal Status under Athenian Law

Appendix D: Visual Depictions of the Meaning of Justice

Appendix E: Reflections on the Antigone and Other Courtroom Dramas

Glossary of Important Names, Terms, and Phrases

Select Bibliography


Of interest...