Literary Analysis


The major assignment for this week is to compose a 900-word essay on Antigone. In this paper you will write an in-depth analysis using your own ideas and excerpts from the play in the form of quotes, paraphrases, or summaries.

As you prepare to write this essay, make sure you understand what you are being asked to do.

Pick a Topic


First, identify a topic in consultation with your instructor or write about one of the following options:

  1. Antigone clearly scrutinizes the cultural institution of gender, for the play’s debate about the nature of justice and good governance hinges on Antigone’s defiance of the king, making the play one of only a few ancient Greek dramas that put a woman center stage (apologies for the bad pun!). Moreover, there are important moments in the play that underscore its focus on gender inequality. For instance, at one point Creon accuses his son, Haemon, of considering “some women” more important than the rule of law. Creon goes on to complain that Haemon puts Antigone before all others. In another passage, Ismene, invoking the argument that women should obey men, urges Antigone to submit to Creon. Examine representations of gender and the gender conflict in Antigone in detail.
  1. Scholarship developed from the nineteenth century through the present offers multiple interpretations of Antigone’s character. One of the abiding questions about her is whether her desire to bury Polyneices properly is political or if her defiance of the king is motivated, as she claims, solely by divine edict. Advocates of the first position see her as “speaking truth to power” as she engages in civil disobedience. But scholars who support the second explanation tend to consider Antigone’s concerns as primarily domestic—about her family—rather than political. Yet another interpretation of Antigone is that she, like so many other figures in ancient Greek drama, is guilty of excessive pride—hubris—as she tries to impose divine law on Creon.

Develop a character analysis of Antigone. You may argue for or against one of the positions stated above or you may take another direction. One thing to consider in your discussion is whether she is successful despite her suicide.

Develop a Tentative Thesis

As you consider different options for your thesis:

  • Develop a few hypotheses about the text that are based on your own perspectives and relate to the topic that you chose to explore for this assignment.
  • In addition to considering the text’s plot, reflect on what genre and other elements of literature (see the online lecture on this topic) reveal about ancient Greek cultures and important philosophies and values associated with this era and region.


Gather evidence that is likely to support your tentative thesis. At this point, there is no need to use “outside” sources to complete the essay. You will have an opportunity to do that next week. For now, your evidence should consist of experiential knowledge (what you have learned through life experience) and quotes, paraphrases, or summaries from the play’s text.

Next, choose one of the prewriting techniques discussed in chapter 3c, "Invent and Prewrite," of The New Century Handbook and begin prewriting.

Rough Draft

Write your rough draft. You are not required to submit it, but you should acquire the habit of writing one for every essay you compose in this and other classes.

Revise and Edit

Proofread the rough draft to ensure:

  • The thesis is clear and well focused, and the introduction includes all the necessary information.
  • The discussion of evidence includes quotes, paraphrases, or summaries and synthesizes this material and your ideas.
  • The conclusion is appropriate and reinforces the paper's main ideas without repeating the introduction word for word.
  • The essay is formatted in APA style throughout. It uses appropriate grammar, spelling, and mechanics, and quoted material does not exceed 25% of the paper.

Name your document SU_ENG2002_W2_A2_LastName_FirstInitial.doc. By Tuesday, October 28, 2014, submit the final draft of your essay in a Microsoft Word document to the W2: Assignment 2 Dropbox.

Assignment 2 Grading Criteria
Maximum Points
Wrote a complete introduction that engages your classmates' interest, explains the topic, provides a detailed thesis that identifies your argument, briefly states the main evidence, and maps the paper for your audience.
Used key passages and quotations from the text to support and defend your thesis. Supporting examples and quotations are fully analyzed. The link between the thesis and the evidence is clearly explained.
Examined in your essay’s discussion of evidence what the text suggests about the culture, literary movements, philosophies, or ideologies that influenced it.
Organized the paper effectively with unified paragraphs, each of which has a topic sentence and effective transitions to the next paragraph.
Provided an appropriate conclusion that reinforces the paper's main ideas without repeating the introduction word for word.
Met the word requirement.
Communicated clearly using your own words for the majority of the paper with correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling throughout.
Formatted the paper in APA style throughout.
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