Analyzing Character Motivation: Antigone, Prologue and Scene 1

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SWBAT identify how complex characters develop and cite strong text evidence to support their analysis by comparing and contrasting the motivation of Antigone and Ismene.

Big Idea

How does a character's motivation impact their choices?

Warm Up: What is the role of fate in your life?

10 minutes

To begin our reading of Antigone, I am going to ask students to answer the following prompt:


What is the role of fate in your life?  Do you believe fate has the ability to determine your destiny?  Should we attempt to defy fate and make our own choices or just take things as they come? 


Sophocles' plays question the role of fate in the lives of the early Greeks.  This prompt will ask students think about fate so as we read the topic is fresh in their minds.  I'll make sure to remember to bring fate up periodically throughout the reading.  

I often ask students to free write for their warm up.  It is a no-pressure, write about your feelings, let's start thinking about English, bridge into our daily work (W.9-10.10)

What motivates a character to action?

35 minutes


Before we begin reading, I distribute the Antigone and Ismene Comparison Chart.  I explain to students that I want them to focus on the motivation of Antigone and Ismene. We will be analyzing how these complex characters develop over the course of the text (RL.9-10.3). Students will also be gathering evidence to support what the characters' actions say about their qualities (RL.9-10.1).  It is important that students gather text evidence as they analyze the characters throughout the text because they will need that evidence to be able to explain who the Tragic Hero is at the end of the play.  

I ask students to volunteer for reading roles.  Once we have our roles in place, we read the Prologue and Scene one.  As we read, I periodically stop and ask questions that pertain to the Antigone and Ismene Comparison Chart.  WHile we are reading, we will pause to fill in the chart.  

After we finish reading, I will give students a few minutes to answer one of the prompts on part two of the Comparison Chart.  The Standards expect students to be able to appropriately answer text based questions.  This question requires that students go back to the text read carefully to conceptualize the actions of the characters (RL.9-10.2) and then write an analysis which draws evidence from the literary text (W.9-10.9).  

Debrief and set goals

3 minutes

With just a couple minutes of class time remaining, students will clean up the room, return text books, etc., while I speak with students who were recently absent due to a field trip. There is no homework tonight and students will be happy about that.