How can I analyze a quote from a drama, such as the following passage from Sophocles's Antigone:Antigone: " So be what you want. I'll still...
How can I analyze a quote from a drama, such as the following passage from Sophocles's Antigone:
Antigone: " So be what you want.
I'll still bury him. It would be fine to die
while doing that. I'll lie there with him,
with a man I love, pure and innocent,
for all my crime. My honours for the dead
must last much longer than for those up here
I'll lie down there forever."
In analyzing a quote like this one, you will want to comment on its face value meaning by providing a paraphrase or literal explanation; comment on any interesting use of words, literary devices, or syntax; and discuss the connotation, or deeper meaning, especially focusing on its relation to any themes in the story or to how it reflects the development of the character who speaks the line.
In this passage, Antigone is telling her sister, Ismene, that she plans to bury their brother with or without Ismene's help. She knows such an action will bring upon her Creon's death sentence, and she is willing to accept that for two reasons: first, because she loves her brother, and second, because she believes her action would be "innocent" despite being a "crime." Since she will be dead longer than she will be alive, she believes her duty to the dead is greater than to the living.
The most notable thing about the wording of this quote is the apparent contradiction of being innocent despite having committed a crime. In addition, her comment about being dead longer than she will be alive is ironic. It applies to everyone, obviously, but very few people choose to live their lives based on that obvious truth.
The deeper meaning of this passage is that it clearly introduces the major conflict of the play from Antigone's point of view. It pits man's law (Creon's) against the law of the gods (the gods of the afterlife who require proper burial customs). It also clearly establishes Antigone's character as a person who, unlike Ismene, is willing to fight for what she believes is right despite great personal risk.
Having analyzed a quote for its literal meaning, its literary value, and its deeper meaning, especially in terms of the larger themes of the work, you will arrive at a better understanding not just of the particular passage you are evaluating but also of the author's skill and of the work as a whole.