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The Top 10 Antigone Quotes That Will Leave You Contemplating Life

Explore the profound themes and captivating character analysis of Antigone through a collection of thought-provoking quotes. Uncover the depths of this timeless tragedy and gain new insights into its enduring relevance.
by The Blinkist Team | Nov 13 2023

Antigone,” written by the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, is a powerful tragedy that continues to resonate with audiences today. First performed in 441 BCE, this play delves into themes of morality, loyalty, and the clash between personal beliefs and societal norms. With its timeless exploration of complex human dilemmas, “Antigone” remains relevant and thought-provoking, offering readers and theatergoers a profound examination of the human condition.


Greek tragedy has a way of delving deep into the human condition, forcing us to confront our own mortality, values, and the complexities of life. And no play does this quite like Sophocles’ Antigone. Filled with powerful and thought-provoking dialogue, Antigone has left a lasting impact on audiences for centuries. In this article, we have compiled the top 10 Antigone quotes that will leave you contemplating life. These quotes will challenge your beliefs, question societal norms, and make you reflect on the timeless themes explored in this tragic masterpiece. Get ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery as we dive into these profound words of wisdom from one of the greatest plays in history.

10 Powerful Antigone Quotes That Will Leave You Reflecting

The Greeks had considered hope the final evil in Pandora’s box. They also gave us an image of perfect nobility: a human being lovingly doing her duty to another human being despite all threats, and going to her death with pride and courage, not deterred by any hope – Antigone.

Walter Kaufmann

This line provides context for the Greek perspective on hope and its portrayal in the play Antigone. It highlights the belief that hope was seen as a negative force, as it was considered the final evil in Pandora’s box. The quote also presents an image of perfect nobility, depicting a person who selflessly fulfills their duty to another despite any threats or obstacles. This individual demonstrates unwavering pride and courage, choosing to face death without being deterred by any hope. This perspective challenges the conventional notion that hope is always a positive and necessary aspect of human existence.

Miss Havisham is an important feminine literary figure in the tradition of Antigone (though it’s significant that Antigone is fighting to bury something and Miss Havisham refuses, as it were, to bury the corpse). Like Hamlet, she’s focused on what everyone would rather not know or would like to forget, and she seems crazy / stuck as well as bitter, but she’s also a perfect prototype of a performance artist. She’s intentionally hard to deal with inviting the audience to remain with the violated body, the evidence of violence.

Laura Mullen

Laura Mullen offers a complex analysis of the character Miss Havisham, drawing parallels to other important literary figures such as Antigone and Hamlet. Mullen highlights Miss Havisham’s refusal to bury the past, contrasting it with Antigone’s fight to bury something. She describes Miss Havisham as a figure who is both crazy and bitter, but also a prototype of a performance artist. Mullen suggests that Miss Havisham intentionally challenges the audience to confront the evidence of violence and remain engaged with the violated body. This quote offers a thought-provoking perspective on the character and invites deeper exploration of her significance in literature.

Do not believe that you alone can be right.The man who thinks that,The man who maintains that only he has the powerTo reason correctly, the gift to speak, the soul-A man like that, when you know him, turns out empty.


This quote reminds us of the importance of humility and open-mindedness in our interactions with others. It cautions against the belief that we alone possess all the answers and have the ability to reason and speak correctly. The quote suggests that individuals who hold such a belief often reveal themselves to be lacking depth and substance upon closer examination. It serves as a reminder to approach conversations and debates with a willingness to listen, learn, and consider different perspectives. By doing so, we can foster meaningful connections and expand our own understanding of the world.

It’s terrible when the one who does the judging judges things all wrong.


This quote highlights the destructive nature of unfair judgment and the negative impact it can have on individuals and society. It suggests that when someone in a position of judgment lacks understanding or fairness, their judgments can be deeply flawed and harmful. This quote serves as a reminder to approach judgment with empathy, open-mindedness, and a willingness to see things from different perspectives. It encourages us to challenge our own biases and strive for fairness and understanding in our judgments, promoting a more just and compassionate society.

How dreadful it is when the right judge judges wrong!


Once again, Sophocles captures the profound consequences of a flawed judgment in this quote. It highlights the inherent tragedy when a person in a position of authority or power makes a wrong decision. The quote emphasizes the importance of wisdom and discernment in those who hold the responsibility of judgment. It serves as a reminder of the potential harm that can be inflicted when those in authority fail to exercise their power with integrity and fairness. Sophocles’ words prompt us to reflect on the devastating impact of misjudgment and the need for justice and righteousness in our society.

We have only a little time to please the living. But all eternity to love the dead.


This quote, from Sophocles’ play “Antigone,” explores the fleeting nature of life and the enduring power of love. It highlights the importance of cherishing and making the most of our time with the living, as it is limited. However, it also suggests that love transcends death and continues to exist beyond the boundaries of time. This quote serves as a reminder to prioritize our relationships and to love deeply, knowing that the love we share can have a lasting impact even after we are gone.

Reason is God’s crowning gift to man.


This line emphasizes the importance of reason in human existence. It highlights reason as a divine gift bestowed upon mankind, elevating our ability to think, understand, and make rational decisions. Reason enables us to navigate the complexities of life, to seek truth and knowledge, and to make sense of the world around us. It is through the exercise of reason that we can unlock our full potential and fulfill our purpose as rational beings.

Love, unconquerable, Waster of rich men, keeper Of warm lights and all-night vigil In the soft face of a girl: Sea-wanderer, forest-visitor! Even the pure immortals cannot escape you, And mortal man, in his one day’s dusk, Trembles before your glory.


This quote emphasizes the all-encompassing power and influence of love. It portrays love as an unstoppable force that can conquer even the wealthiest individuals and captivate their hearts. Love is depicted as a guardian of warmth and intimacy, symbolized by the soft face of a girl. It is described as a wanderer, traversing the vastness of the sea and the depths of the forest. The quote suggests that even the gods themselves are not immune to the captivating allure of love, and mortal beings are left in awe of its magnificence.

A man though wise, should never be ashamed of learning more, and must unbend his mind.


Sophocles offers a timeless wisdom about the importance of continuous learning and intellectual humility. This quote emphasizes that even the wisest individuals should never feel ashamed or hesitant to acquire new knowledge. It encourages us to remain open-minded and flexible in our thinking, recognizing that there is always more to learn and understand. By unbending our minds and embracing the pursuit of knowledge, we can continue to grow and expand our understanding of the world.

Money: There’s nothing in the world so demoralizing as money.


This quote emphasizes the negative impact that money can have on our well-being and sense of morality. It suggests that the pursuit of wealth and material possessions can lead to a loss of integrity and a decline in our moral values. This quote highlights the potential dangers of becoming too consumed with money, as it can corrupt our character and distort our priorities. It serves as a reminder to prioritize our personal values and relationships over the accumulation of wealth.

In conclusion, the timeless wisdom contained within these top 10 Antigone quotes serves as a powerful reminder of the complexities of life and the universal truths that continue to resonate with audiences today. Through the exploration of themes such as morality, duty, and the consequences of our actions, Antigone forces us to confront our own values and beliefs. These quotes will leave you contemplating the choices we make, the impact we have on others, and the ultimate meaning of our existence. As we grapple with these profound insights, let us strive to live with integrity, compassion, and a deep understanding of the human experience.


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