This is both an introduction to the course Eight Great Plays and a discussion of Sophocles’ Antigone. Leonard Peikoff explains how he chose these plays: for their literary qualities, but also because each contains, at least implicitly, an entire philosophy of life. Each play is one, about which Peikoff says: “I would not want to have lived and died, and not had the experience of confronting and reading these plays.”

Peikoff then discusses Sophocles’ Antigone in depth, exploring its central conflict and theme, and Antigone’s strength as a character. What aspects of the play illuminate Sophocles’ most fundamental ideas about the world and man’s place in it?

Spoiler alert: The lesson assumes students have read the play.

Recommended translation: Sophocles: The Oedipus Cycle, trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. Harvest [Harcourt]. 2002.