The Catholic University of America


Angelica Sisson

“The Tragic Aspects of Antigone in Sophocles and Sophoclean Interpretations”


Angelica Sisson graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics and a minor in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America. Her paper, "The Tragic Aspects of Antigone in Sophocles and Sophoclean Interpretation" was her senior thesis. While she was originally interested in Antigone due to the title character's motivations, after beginning her research Angelica's interest shifted to how Antigone was characterized by her readers. Angelica decided to submit her paper to Inventio after working on its student editorial board for two years. Upon graduation, she has since continued pursuing her interest in publishing.


Question #1

If you could highlight just one piece of evidence from your essay (whether it be a passage, primary source, excerpt from a song, or architectural structure) which would you choose and why?

If I could highlight one portion of my thesis, it would be the paragraphs where I discussed the adaption of Antigone done by Jean Anouilh. Anouilh's adaption was written in German occupied Paris during World War II, he wanted to showcase a message that would inspire the Parisians but that message could not be too obvious in order for the adaption to be approved by Nazi censors. His play was a massive success and oftentimes it is his version that is reproduced, not the one of Sophocles. Anouilh's adaption managed to walk the fine line between tragedy and propaganda so that whatever opinion an audience member had, that was the opinion they thought Anouilh was advocating. I think the attention and precision Anouilh used in his writing is fascinating and very admirable. No other version of Antigone, in my mind, was quite as successful in the Anouilh adaption.

Question #2

What first motivated you to submit to Inventio, and having gone through the process as an author has your perspective on academic writing changed in any way, if so how?

After I graduated, I kept thinking about my thesis and bringing up points from it in conversations. My interest in the topic hadn't faded by the time submissions for Inventio came around so I decided to submit, if only because it gave me the chance to keep thinking about Antigone. Also, I wanted the opportunity to read my thesis and edit it when I didn't have other classwork going on. Editing my paper for Inventio has definitely changed my perspective on academic writing. It's a different challenge to write a paper for a broader audience since it causes me as an author to consider what a non-classical scholar may or may not know about the subject matter, and being able to refine a paper for a different audience was a great experience.

Question #3

What makes you so interested in the relationship between tragedy and propaganda, as discussed in such detail in your essay?

The motivations behind art are something I have always found fascinating. That, coupled with my interest in Antigone, made the research for my paper very enjoyable for me since I was able to read and watch so many different adaptions and see with each adaption how a writer's motivations changed the characters and plots of the play. I also am interested in the analysis of tragedy and propaganda because it's something equally applicable in modern times as in the ancient world.