Antigone Unit Plan

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As part of the Oedipus cycle, ~'Antigone~' is a pinnacle work of classic drama. This lesson offers you an outline of a unit plan for teaching Sophocles' play.

Teaching Antigone

If you are teaching Sophocles' work, then you understand the importance of Antigone. This is a play that deals with important themes such as gender, the nature of death, and the relationship between government and religion. The play also deals with intergenerational divides and the significance of family in an individual's life. This is not a simple play to teach, so it helps to be very organized in your instruction. Though every teacher will choose different aspects of the work to focus on, and every group of students has different needs in relation to comprehending the play, it is always helpful to work with an underlying unit plan.

The unit plan offered here gives you an outline of how you might structure your time and the activities you do in teaching Antigone, but of course you should modify it based on your own instructional goals and your students' needs. This unit is designed to take place over the course of four instructional weeks.

Antigone Unit Plan

Week One

    • For the first few days of week one, you will want to do pre-reading activities with your students. This will probably include getting them acquainted with Ancient Greece and the structure of the Greek drama. Consider having your students research the importance of drama to the ancient Greeks or looking through the play without reading it to see what they can observe about its structure.
    • Then, have students read lines 1-416 of the play. Since the structure is likely to be new to students, you will want to do this initial reading in class. Do as much reading out loud as possible, letting students take turns reading the parts of different characters. Not only is this a great way to get your students involved in the play, but it also helps them develop their reading fluency and expression. Make a map of the characters in the play and their relationships to one another to make sure that all of your students understand the exposition and are beginning to follow the plot. For homework, you might ask your students to sketch the images that are coming into their minds as they read the play.

Week Two

    • By the second week of your unit, students will be more accustomed to reading Sophocles' style. You can have them read independently or in partnerships. During this week, have your students read lines 417-700 of the play. Stop occasionally to have them write summaries so that you can monitor their comprehension on a concrete level.
    • During this portion of the play, students are really starting to get into the major themes. Have discussions about Antigone's relationship to her father, for instance, or how what her views are about death. Students may be ready to talk about their own views on the play's major themes in comparison and contrast to Antigone's strong opinions. Writing assignments this week can include reflections on what is appropriate to do with a dead body or what a younger person's obligations are to their elders.

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