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by Sophocles

Current Events & Pop Culture

Available to teachers only as part of the Teaching Antigone Teacher Pass

Teaching Antigone Teacher Pass includes:

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Sample of Current Events & Pop Culture

Commencement Address

A commencement address by Cornel West, African American scholar and Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton, uses Antigone as an example of a story with a "tragic sense of history...which is about the exploration of human possibilities for freedom."


"One must have a tragic sense of history…We ought not to confuse the tragic with the pathetic. The tragic is about the exploration of human possibilities for freedom. That's what Sophocles' Antigone is about. That's what Shakespeare's King Lear is about. That's what Toni Morrison's Beloved is about: the exploration of the human possibilities of freedom, but hitting up against limits sooner or later.

A tragic sense of history will give you a view of the world in which no culture and no civilization and no society has a monopoly on wisdom or virtue…It's about complexity and subtlety. And going hand in hand with a tragic sense of history is an all-embracing moral vision, because a tragic sense of history should generate a sense of empathy and sympathy, of trying to identify with the frustrations and anxieties of others, of those who look other and come from other places and have other sexual orientations. All-embracing moral vision – never losing sight of the humanity of others."