"I was born to join in love, not hate—that is my nature": Civil Disobedience in Antigone

Students will examine the central conflict in Antigone between loyalty to one's family and religion and loyalty to society and the law, exploring how characters use rhetorical appeals and devices to convey their stance about their allegiance.

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ELA

Unit 3

10th Grade

Unit Summary


The third unit of the year, centered around the core text Antigone, fits within the year-long theme of the individual in society, as students use the play to explore whether an individual should prioritize their moral conscience over the law. Antigone, who is loyal to her family and divine law, practices civil disobedience by giving her brother  a proper burial when King Creon has forbidden it because he considers him a traitor. Through her actions, Antigone invites students to make connections to other real-life figures who have practiced civil disobedience when faced with oppressive laws. Later in the unit, when students watch the Theater of War Productions' Antigone in Ferguson, students make further connections between the major themes of the play and contemporary issues of racism, police brutality, and misogyny.  

Before diving into the play, students build background knowledge about Greek theater and tragedy, and read a summary of "The Legend of Oedipus" to understand how Antigone's tragic fate is largely a consequence of the circumstances she was born into. Students will continue to explore the theme of fate throughout the unit by making connections between the play and contemporary texts such as the Radiolab podcast episode "Death Interrupted" and excerpts from Sam Harris's talk "The Delusion of Free Will." Additionally, students will examine the theme of civil disobedience in the play by analyzing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and by conducting research on other global figures who have broken unjust laws.

As students read Antigone and other unit texts, they will examine how characters and real-life speakers use rhetorical appeals and devices to persuade an audience.  Students will use these same rhetorical appeals and devices to write a persuasive speech about a personal, social, or political issue that they feel passionately about. To close the unit, students will deliver their speeches to the class. 

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Texts and Materials


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Core Materials

  • Book: Antigone by Sophocles; Translated by Robert Fagles (Pearson; First Edition)

Supporting Materials

Assessment


This assessment accompanies Unit 4 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Key Knowledge


Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Before you teach this unit, unpack the texts, themes, and core standards through our guided intellectual preparation process. Each Unit Launch includes a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning to ensure you're prepared to support every student.

Essential Questions

  • Should we obey laws that we believe are unjust?
  • What makes a good leader? 
  • To what extent does fate dictate our lives?

Vocabulary

Text-based

decree degrade extremist galvanize infallible precipitate reckless retribution revile subordinate submit

Literary Terms

ad hominem allusion anaphora antithesis bandwagon characterization conflict emphasis ethos false dilemma greek tragedy hasty generalization logos logical fallacies metaphor parados pathos personification red herring rhetorical appeals rhetorical question simile straw man syllogism tone

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 3, view our 10th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Lesson Map


Common Core Standards


Core Standards

L.9-10.3
RI.9-10.2
RI.9-10.3
RI.9-10.5
RI.9-10.6
RI.9-10.8
RI.9-10.9
RL.9-10.2
RL.9-10.3
RL.9-10.4
RL.9-10.5
RL.9-10.6
RL.9-10.7
SL.9-10.1
SL.9-10.1.a
SL.9-10.1.b
SL.9-10.1.c
SL.9-10.1.d
SL.9-10.3
SL.9-10.4
SL.9-10.6
W.9-10.1
W.9-10.1.a
W.9-10.1.b
W.9-10.1.c
W.9-10.1.e
W.9-10.2
W.9-10.4
W.9-10.5
W.9-10.7
W.9-10.8
W.9-10.10

Supporting Standards

L.9-10.1
L.9-10.2
L.9-10.3
L.9-10.5
L.9-10.5.b
L.9-10.6
RI.9-10.1
RI.9-10.2
RI.9-10.3
RI.9-10.4
RI.9-10.5
RI.9-10.6
RI.9-10.8
RI.9-10.10
RL.9-10.1
RL.9-10.2
RL.9-10.3
RL.9-10.4
RL.9-10.6
RL.9-10.7
RL.9-10.9
SL.9-10.1
SL.9-10.3
SL.9-10.4
SL.9-10.6
W.9-10.1.a
W.9-10.3.a
W.9-10.4
W.9-10.7
W.9-10.9
W.9-10.10
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Unit 2

Flowers of Freedom: Voice, Defiance, and Coming of Age in Purple Hibiscus

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Unit 4

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary: Magical Realism in Latin American Literature

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