Antigone Summary

  • Last updated on March 25, 2021
"infobox Book"
name Antigone
image
image caption Cover of Fagles translation
orig title Ἀντιγόνη
author Sophocles
translator Robert Fagles
country Greece
language Original: Ancient Greece Translated: English
series The Three Theban Plays
genre(s) Greek Tragedy
publisher Penguin
release date Original: <441 BC Translation: 1984
media type Play
pages 432
isbn 9780140444254
preceded_by Oedipus at Colonus
Antigone is chronologically the third part of the Oedipus Rex Trilogy by Sophocles, which tells the story of Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, after her father's death.

Character Summaries

Antigone

Antigone is less like other women at the time - she is not obedient and docile. She is stubborn and wants to honour her fallen brother.

Ismene

Antigone's beautiful, obedient sister.

Creon

The king of Thebes.

Eurydice of Thebes

The queen of Thebes.

Haemon

The son of the king and queen, and is betrothed to Antigone.

Koryphaious

The leader of the chorus and assistant to the king.

Tiresius

A blind prophet who prophecies Polynices' death.

The Chorus

Elderly men who make notes on what is going on in the play.

 

Plot Summary

The story opens at the end of a battle between Antigone's brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, for control of Thebes. Both brothers died in the battle, but Creon, the new king of Thebes, has declared that while Eteocles should be buried with honors Polyneices' body should be left unburied. This is a severe punishment for Polyneices since the Greeks believed that one could not go to the afterlife unless one's body was properly buried.

Since she loves both of her brothers, Antigone decides to bury Polyneices in spite of Creon's order and tries to enlist her sister, Ismene, in the task. Ismene refuses to break Creon's law. Antigone says the law of the Gods is more important than mortal man's law. It is ironic that just as Antigone is burying her brother, Creon comes on stage declaring that anyone caught doing so will be put to death.When Antigone is caught burying her brother, she makes no apology, declaring that she is only doing what is right.

Creon is a proud man and no amount of convincing will make him change his mind. The plot thickens as it is revealed that Creon's son Haemon is engaged to marry Antigone. He tries to use reason to convince his father that killing Antigone for burying her brother will make him unpopular and hurt his rule. Creon accuses his son of disloyalty and sends Antigone to be locked in a cave with only limited food and water thus sending her to her death. Finally, Teiresias, the blind prophet who foretold the tragedy of Oedipus, arrives and manages to convince Creon to change his mind by foretelling of the deaths that will come from this Creon's action, but it is too late.

When they get to the cave, Antigone is already dead, having committed suicide. Haemon also commits suicide and upon learning of her son's death, Eurydice, wife to Creon, follows her son's example.

Creon is left with nothing but his kingship He had put his pride and his power ahead of his family and angered the gods. Although he kept his kingship it was poor consolation for losing both his son and his wife.

External Links

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:Ancient Greece

Categories: Plays
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