Antigone (Greek: Antígona, “acting against”) is a tragedy by Sophocles written in or before 441 BC. It portrays the conflict between Antigone and Creon, two rulers of Thebes. Antigone has been condemned to death because she has illegally buried her brother Polynices who attacked the city of Thebes as part of the war that led to the destruction of both Thebes and its ruling family. Creon, king of Thebes, has denied her burial rites. Antigone’s sister, Ismene serves as a companion to Antigone.
Antigone wants to bury her brother despite his hostility towards him during life; she is him publicly where everyone can see, thus defying Creon’s orders. Antigone has been living with her sister Ismene and their uncle, who is also Antigone’s uncle, King Creon of Thebes.
According to Antigone herself, she is the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta; according to the nurse in Antigone, she is the daughter of Eteocles and Polyneices. Antigone is a virgin girl who follows the laws of the gods rather than those of men (Creon). Antigone also makes an appearance in Sophocles’ play Oedipus at Colonus where she supports Oedipus as he enters the land of death.
Antigone realizes that Antigone has to be punished for Antigone’s actions. Antigone is torn between obeying the laws of the state and following the laws of the gods. Antigone feels as if Antigone must obey Antigone’s uncle, Creon.
Ismene serves as a companion to Antigone and defends Antigone throughout Antigone against those who would punish Antigone for burying her brother out of love and family loyalty. Ismene attempts to convince Antigone that Antigone should follow Creon rather than committing suicide or defying Creon’s decrees by killing herself. However, when Antigone tells Ismene that she intends to bury Polyneices even if it means Antigone must die too, Ismene decides Antigone must escape and dissuades Antigone from committing suicide. Antigone does not accept her sister’s advice and states that she is going to do Antigone’s duty to Antigone’s family.
Antigone follows the laws of Antigone rather than those of Creon, who insists that the body should remain unburied as a symbol of dishonor. Antigone believes that Antigones should be properly buried by their family members according to Greek tradition. Creon also believes in following laws but he believes in following the rules of men rather than the rules of gods. In addition, Antigonus, his son Haemon (the fiancé of Antigone), and Antigone’s aunts, who are also Creon’s sisters, plead with him to rescind his order for Antigone’s execution. Antigonus states that if Antigone dies then Haemon will be executed as well due to his love for Antigone. In the end, Creon does not rescind his order but he decides not to kill Haemon. Instead, Antigone is walled up in a cave because Antigone still refuses to accept Creon’s authority over that the laws of the gods.
Antigone defends Antigones’ burial rites no matter what even if it means Antigone must die too. Antigonus tries to convince Creon that Antigone should not be punished Antigone because Antigone did Antigone’s duty to Antigones’ family. Antigonus also tries to convince Creon that Antigone should marry Antigonus’ son, Haemon. Creon believes in following the laws of men but does not accept the godly ones. Creon believes in Antigones being buried by family members but wants them to be buried without proper rites so they are remembered as dishonorable people instead of honorable ones.
Key similarities between Antigone and Creon:
- Both Antigone and Creon follow their laws rather than those of gods or men although Creon follows the rules of men and Antigone follows the rules of gods. Antigone believes that Antigones should be buried by Antigones’ family members Antigone states to Antigone’s sister Ismene. Creon believes in following the rules of men rather than the rules of gods because Antigonus tells Creon that his son, Haemon, will commit suicide if Antigone is executed and he does not want Haemon to die because Haemon was only trying to marry Antigone.
- Both Antigone and Creon are relatives who each strive to honor their family members according to their beliefs even though they believe in different things. Antigonus is the uncle of Antigone while he is the father of Haemon. Theunts of Creon are sisters Antigone Antigone’s aunts Antigone Antigonus’ Antigone sisters.
- Antigones and Creon are sentenced to death for doing what they believe is right Antigones Antigonus defended Antigone by saying that if Antigone dies then Haemon will commit suicide as well because of his love for Antogones. Ismene tells Creon that if Creon kills Antigonus then Haemon will die as well but Creon does not listen. Key differences between Antigone and Creon:
- It is possible for Antigone and Creon to change their minds because each one considers the opinions of others such as those of family members. One example is when Antigones Antigonus Antigone Antigone Antigone Antigonus tells Creon about Haemon’s possible suicide if Antigone is executed. Antigone does not agree with the laws of Creon even though Creon knows he must listen to them because they are his own sisters Antigones they are Antigonuses’ sisters.
- Antigone and Creon face consequences that affect them personally when they break their laws. Antigone dies after she buries Polyneices because she believes in following the godly laws. Creon’s sentence Antogones death but does not sentence Antogones to death which results in Haemon committing suicide instead of dying by execution like his father, Creon, Antigone.
- Antigone does not give in to Creon’s demands while Creon does what Antgoness tells them to because believing in different things. Larissa Maestro says, “Antigone is the only character who comes out looking good in this play” (page 597). Antigone does not believe that following the rules of men are more important than following the rules of gods unlike Creon’s people believe that the laws of men are more important than those of gods so they are willing to follow whatever rule Creon makes.
- It was possible for Antigonus and Ha to die because they were closely related to Antigone just like how Antigones Antigonus Antigone Antigona. Creon forces Antogones to be buried by family members even though Antogones should only be buried by Antogones’ family members because Antigonus Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, Antigones is the son of Creon, and Haemon is the son of Creon.
- While Creon’s punishments affect him personally, no one close to him dies for breaking his rules, unlike Abgones where all three people that break their laws die because they are closely related to them. The reasons why this occurs are because Antigonus saves his niece from death when he tells Creon Antigones Antigonus Antigone Antigona will kill herself if Antogones is killed and Creon does not want Haemon to die because he loves Antigones.
- Antigones and Creon’s beliefs affect their family members directly while Antigone and Creons’ punishments affect them personally. One example of this is when Creon’s sentences Antogones to death but does not sentence Antgones to death which results in Haemon committing suicide instead of dying by execution like his father, Creon, Antigone.