Antigone opens with Oedipus’ two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, contending for the throne of Thebes. The conflict claims the lives of both men. Their successor, Creon, decides that King Eteocles would be buried, but Polyneices will be left on the battlefield because he was heading a foreign army. Regardless, Antigone, his sister, burys him.
Antigone is sentenced to death after being caught burying Polyneices. Haemon, her fiance and Creon’s son, hears about this and attempts to persuade Creon to reconsider his decision. Only then does Tiresias, the seer, emerge. He finally persuades Creon that the gods want Polyneices buried after a long debate. When Antigone hangs herself, Haemon kills himself when he finds her, and Creon’s widow kills herself when she hears about her son, it’s too late.
The players are introduced by the Chorus. Antigone is a young woman who will stand up on her own and die young. Antigone’s gorgeous fiancé, Haemon, converses with her lovely sister, Ismene. Despite the fact that Haemon should have chosen Ismene, he unexpectedly proposed to Antigone on the night of a ball. Creon is the king of Thebes, and he is obligated to reign. The Nurse and Queen Eurydice sit next to the sisters. Eurydice will continue to knit until she is called to her room to die. Finally, three Guards play cards, unconcerned with the tragedy unfolding in front of them.
The Chorus narrates the events that led up to Antigone’s tragedy. Eteocles and Polynices were the sons of Oedipus, Antigone’s and Ismene’s father. Following Oedipus’ death, it was arranged that each of the sons would seize the throne for a year. However, Eteocles, the elder, refused to stand down after the first year. Polynices led a force of six foreign princes to Thebes. All of them were defeated. Creon became king after the brothers murdered each other in a duel. Eteocles was buried in honor, and Polynices was allowed to languish on the verge of death.
What is the central struggle in Antigone?
Antigone’s fundamental conflict is between the title character and her uncle, King Creon. Despite her uncle’s objections, Antigone insists on burying her brother Polyneices. Antigone justifies her allegiance by claiming that the gods have decreed that mortals be subjected to a death ritual, and thus she is obeying a higher authority.
Why did Antigone commit suicide?
Antigone tells Ismene, who was scared to assist her bury their brother, “For you chose to living when I chose death.” Antigone was prepared for death, but only if it was death inflicted on her by others, not death inflicted on her by herself. So why did she commit suicide?
Who was responsible for Antigone’s death?
Antigone is ordered to be buried alive in a tomb by Creon. Despite Creon’s change of heart and attempts to free Antigone, he discovers she has hanged herself. Haemon, Creon’s son and Antigone’s lover, murders himself with a knife, and his mother, Queen Eurydice, kills herself in anguish over her son’s death.
Sophocles’ Antigone Summary
Sophocles’ Antigone Summary
It’s early morning, and the house is still sound slumber. When Antigone sneaks in, the Nurse comes and inquires about her whereabouts. Ismene appears out of nowhere, inquiring where Antigone has been. Antigone dispatches the Nurse for a cup of coffee. Ismene declares that they will not be able to bury Polynices and that she must comprehend Creon’s motives. Antigone refuses, telling Ismene to return to her bed. Antigone urges Haemon to hold her with all his strength when he enters. She informs him that she is unable to marry him. Haemon walks away, perplexed. Ismene returns, frightened that Antigone may try to bury Polynices in the open air despite the fact that it is daylight. Antigone admits that she has already accomplished this.
Later that day, the jittery First Guard enters and reports Creon that Polynices’ body was covered in mud the night before. He directs the guards to uncover the body while keeping the situation under wraps. The Chorus enters and announces the start of the tragedy. It has a wound spring that will uncoil on its own. Tragic fiction, unlike melodrama, is pure, calm, and faultless. Everything in a tragedy is unavoidable, hopeless, and predictable. Everyone is tethered to their components.
Antigone, who is struggling, is escorted by the Guards. They should organize a party, suggests the First. Antigone was discovered excavating Polynices’ grave by hand in broad daylight, according to Creon and the First. Creon orders the guards to go. When he’s sure no one sees Antigone imprisoned, he sends her to bed and tells her to claim she’s been sick. Antigone responds by saying she will just go out tonight. Creon inquires if she believes that because she is Oedipus’s daughter, she is above the law. Her death, like Oedipus’, must appear like a “natural finale” to her existence. Creon, on the other hand, is only concerned with maintaining the kingdom’s order. Thebes values Antigone’s marriage more than her death.
1st Scene of Antigone
Both Polyneices and Eteocles, two brothers who headed opposing factions in Thebes’ civil war, died in battle. Eteocles will be exalted, and Polyneices will be shamed, according to Creon, the new ruler of Thebes. The body of the renegade brother will not be sanctified by religious rites and will be left unburied to feed carrion animals. Antigone and Ismene are the sisters of the deceased brothers, and they are now Oedipus’ last children. Antigone takes Ismene out late at night outside the city gates for a secret meeting: Antigone wants to bury Polyneices’ body in contravention of Creon’s injunction. Ismene refuses to help her because she is afraid of the death punishment, but she is powerless to stop Antigone from carrying out the deed on her own.
Creon, accompanied by the Chorus of Theban Elders, enters. He asks for their help in the coming days, especially in regards to the disposition of Polyneices’ body. The Elders’ Chorus pledges their support. Fearfully, a Sentry enters, saying that the body has been buried. Creon, enraged, instructs the Sentry to discover the criminal or face execution. The Sentry departs, but returns after a little interval, accompanied by Antigone. Creon interrogates her, and she does not deny her actions. She debates with Creon vehemently over the morality of the decree as well as the morality of her acts. Creon becomes enraged and summons Ismene, believing she must have assisted her. Ismene tries to falsely confess to the murder in order to die with her sister, but Antigone has none of it. Creon orders that the two women be imprisoned for the time being.
1st Ode of Antigone
Tiresias, the blind prophet, makes his entrance. Tiresias advises Creon that the gods are angry and would not accept any offerings or prayers from Thebes, therefore Polyneices must be buried immediately. Tiresias is accused of being corrupt by Creon. Tiresias says that Creon will lose “a son of [his] own loins” as a result of Creon’s faults in leaving Polyneices unburied and burying Antigone (he does not say that Antigone should not be condemned to death, only that it is improper to keep a living body underneath the earth). Creon will be despised across Greece, and the gods will reject Thebes’ sacrifice offerings. Fearful, the chorus leader requests Creon to follow Tiresias’ suggestion and release Antigone and bury Polyneices. Creon nods and departs with a retinue of men. The chorus sings a choral homage to Dionysus, the deity of wine (god of wine and of the theater; this part is the offering to their patron god). A messenger enters to inform the chorus leader that Antigone has committed suicide. Eurydice, Creon’s wife and Haemon’s mother, enters and requests that the messenger inform her of everything that has happened. Creon oversaw Polyneices’ funeral, according to the messenger. When Creon arrived at Antigone’s cave, he discovered Haemon grieving over Antigone’s death by hanging. After failing to stab Creon, Haemon decided to stab himself. Eurydice enters the palace after listening to the messenger’s tale.
Creon enters, Haemon’s body in his arms. He recognizes that his actions are to blame for these events and takes responsibility for them. Creon and the chorus are informed by a second messenger that Eurydice has committed suicide. She condemned her husband with her last breath. Creon holds himself responsible for everything that has happened, and he begs his servants to assist him inside. The order he cherished has been preserved, and he remains king, but he has transgressed against the gods, and as a result, he has lost his children and wife. Following Creon’s condemnation, the chorus’s leader concludes by noting that while the gods chastise the haughty, punishment gives knowledge.
Summary of Antigone’s Story
Antigone picks up where Oedipus at Colonus leaves off (in a very bad way). Antigone and her sister return to Thebes after Oedipus dies at Colonus, with the goal of assisting their brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, in avoiding a prophecy that predicts they will kill each other in a war for the crown of Thebes.
Antigone finds that both of her brothers are dead when she arrives in Thebes. Although Eteocles was properly buried, Creon, Antigone’s uncle and heir to the throne, has issued a royal order prohibiting the burial of Polyneices, whom he believes was a traitor. Antigone breaks the law by burying her brother and then being apprehended. When Creon imprisons her, she takes her own life.
Meanwhile, the blind prophet Teiresias, Creon’s son and Antigone’s fiancé Haemon, and the Chorus beg Creon to release Antigone, unaware that she has committed suicide. Creon finally gives in, but in a case of bad timing, he discovers her dead in her detention cell. Haemon and Creon’s wife have both committed suicide as a result of their despair, leaving Creon in anguish and sorrow.
Summary of Antigone Scene 2
Before the play begins, brothers Eteocles and Polynices, who led opposing factions in Thebes’ civil war, died battling for the throne. Creon, the new ruler of Thebes and brother of the former Queen Jocasta, has decided to elevate Eteocles while publicly humiliating Polyneices. The body of the rebel brother will not be sanctified by holy rites and will be left unburied on the battlefield, becoming prey for carrion animals such as worms and vultures, the harshest punishment at the time. Antigone and Ismene are the sisters of Polyneices and Eteocles, who are both dead. Antigone takes Ismene out late at night outside the palace gates for a secret meeting: Antigone wants to bury Polyneices’ body in defiance of Creon’s edict. Ismene refuses to assist her, believing that burying their brother, who is under guard, will be impossible, but she is powerless to prevent Antigone from going to bury her brother herself.
Creon, accompanied by a chorus of Theban elders, enters. He asks for their help in the coming days, especially in regards to the disposition of Polyneices’ body. Out of respect for Creon, the chorus’s leader offers his support. A sentry arrives, terrified to report that the deceased has been given funeral rituals and a symbolic burial with a thin layer of earth, despite the fact that no one can see who did the crime. Creon is enraged and instructs the sentry to find the criminal or face execution. The sentinel departs, and the chorus chants about honoring the gods, but he reappears after a brief absence, accompanied by Antigone. The sentry tells that the watchmen discovered Polyneices’ body and then apprehended Antigone as she was performing funeral rites. Creon interrogates her after the sentry has been dispatched, and she does not deny what she has done. She confronts Creon head-on about the edict’s immorality and the morality of her conduct. Creon is enraged, and seeing Ismene distressed, he assumes she was aware of Antigone’s scheme. He sends her a message. Ismene tries to falsely confess to the murder in order to die with her sister, but Antigone will not allow it. Creon orders the two women to be imprisoned for the time being.
Even though he is engaged to Antigone, Creon’s son Haemon enters to vow devotion to his father. He appears eager to abandon Antigone at first, but when Haemon gently tries to urge his father to spare Antigone, stating that “under cover of darkness the city mourns for the girl,” the conversation quickly devolves into violent insults between the two men. When Creon threatens to put Antigone to death in front of his son, Haemon flees, promising to never see Creon again.
Creon decides to bury Antigone alive in a cave, sparing Ismene. He seeks to show the gods the bare minimum of reverence by not killing her personally. She is taken out of the house, and instead of being defiant, she is sad. She confesses her remorse for not marrying and for dying for upholding the gods’ commandments. The Leader of the Chorus expresses profound sorrow for what is about to happen to her as she is dragged away to her living grave.