Michelle Clark Graphic Design

What I’m Reading
April 29, 2009, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Books, Design | Tags: , , , , , ,

Antigone book cover This week I’m reading the Antigone play by Sophocles. While I was going through a box of books my roommate left behind, I found this old copy of the famous play I’d only ever encountered once before in middle school. I saved it not only because its a classic-but also because quite honestly, I find the cover art very charming. I like how the more primitive style of the flat, two-dimensional facial features and over-exaggerated eye really take me back in time to ancient Greece, as the play was meant to be interpreted. Here’s a semi-brief summary of the play:

Antigone is the daughter of King Oedipus of Thebes who was exiled from his throne. Antigone left the city of Thebes after Oedipus was overthrown, and returned after his death. Both of her brothers Eteocles and Polynices killed each other over the crown. King Creon, the central character of the story and now king of Thebes, grants a proper burial to Eteocles but not Polynices, because he led a foreign army against his own city-state.

Keep in mind that according to the Greek view of death, a person’s soul could never find rest until the body was properly buried.

Antigone intends to defy King Creon, and enlists the help of her sister Ismene who refuses to help because she believes as women they are too weak to go against the King. After attempting to bury Polynices’ body, Antigone is captured and brought before Creon. She admits her guilt, and Creon sentences her to die. What adds an interesting twist is that Haemon, son of Creon, is in love with Antigone. He attempts to advise his father, pleading for him to have mercy. Creon refuses to listen to his son but reluctantly heeds the words of a prophet and the elders of Thebes when they tell him that he will be cursed for his tyranny and sentencing Antigone to death. He rushes out to bury Polynices and free Antigone, but Antigone commits suicide and Haemon does the same upon discovering her body. Queen Eurydice, when informed of her son’s death, also kills herself. Creon acknowledges his responsibility for these tragic events and as penance prays that he may die soon.

It’s an interesting read, and quick to get through. I also love collecting used books, because sometimes you can find interesting bits of information about the person who read them before. While reading this it’s fun to go through underlined passages and margin notes left by my roommate, who played King Creon in high school wearing a Burger King crown (no joke).

Another reason I picked up this book this week is because I’m going to see the play in a few days. I’ll post a follow-up review of the play this weekend. You can find this book or other versions of the play for dirt cheap here at Half.com, which has become my latest resource for books, movies, and music; my holy trinity.


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