Polynices and his brother Eteocles, however, are both dead, killed by each other, according to the curse of Oedipus, their father. Outside the city gates, Antigone tells Ismene that Creon has ordered that Eteocles, who died defending the city, is to be buried with full honors, while the body of Polynices, the invader, is left to rot. Furthermore, Creon has declared that anyone attempting to bury Polynices shall be publicly stoned to death.
Antigone is third in the famous trilogy by Sophocles dealing with the legend of Oedipus, King of Thebes, who unwittingly slew his father and married his own mother.
When the truth was revealed many years later, his mother Jocasta took her own life; Oedipus blinded himself and left Thebes, wandering about the earth in misery and repentance with only his faithful daughter Antigone to serve and care for him.
After his death she returns to Thebes. Her brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, had agreed to reign alternate years after Oedipus' abdication; but Eteocles would not give up the throne to his younger brother. The latter engaged six other Argive chiefs to help him seize it by force; but he and five of the chiefs were killed, and in the battle he and Eteocles slew each other.
The play opens immediately following Antigone's return.
She learns that Creon, now King of Thebes, has forbidden anyone to bury the corpse of Polynices. Her loyalty to her brother takes first place in her mind: She calls her sister Ismene to her and makes this determination known. Ismene reminds her of all the misery the family has passed through, and of the death they too must suffer if they brave the king's wrath.
She refuses to assist Antigone, whose purpose is unshaken.
|SparkNotes: Antigone: Character List||Creonthe new ruler of Thebes and brother of the former Queen Jocasta, has decided that Eteocles will be honored and Polyneices will be in public shame. Antigone and Ismene are the sisters of the dead Polyneices and Eteocles.|
|Character List||Antigone is the one that stays with Oedipus when he is banished, a blind man, from Thebes. She warns Antigone that trying to give their brother a proper burial would surely lead to her death and declares that she wants nothing to do with the whole idea.|
|Major Conflicts||Remember that each play of the Oedipus Trilogy stands on its own. Although the stories of the three tragedies are connected, Sophocles did not write them in chronological order, nor did he mean for them to be viewed in a particular sequence.|
The Chorus, representing a group of Theban elders, tells of the joys of peace and victory; then Creon enters and reaffirms his intention to hold a noble funeral for Eteocles, who defended the city, and to leave unburied Polynices, who tried to destroy it.
The Chorus upholds him. A guard arrives to inform Creon that the body of Polynices has disappeared. Creon, convinced that this act is the work of persons who have been bribed, orders that the evildoers be found. The Chorus now soliloquizes on the nature of man, whose greatness and baseness exist side by side: Wonders are many, and none is more wonderful than man; the power that crosses the white sea, driven by the stormy south-wind, making a path under surges that threaten to engulf him; and Earth, the eldest of the gods, the immortal, the unwearied, doth he wear, turning the soil with the offspring of horses, as the ploughs go to and fro from year to year.
And the light-hearted race of birds, and the tribes of savage beasts, and the sea-brood of the deep, he snares in the meshes of his woven toils, he leads captive, man excellent in wit.
And he masters by his arts the beast whose lair is in the wilds, who roams the hills; he tames the horse of shaggy mane, he puts the yoke upon its neck, he tames the tireless mountain bull.
And speech, and wind-swift thought, and all the moods that mould a state, hath he taught himself; and how to flee the arrows of the frost, when 'tis hard lodging under the clear sky, and the arrows of the rushing rain; yea, he hath resource for all; without resource he meets nothing that must come: Cunning beyond fancy's dream is the fertile skill which brings him, now to evil, now to good.
When he honours the laws of the land, and that justice which he hath sworn by the gods to uphold, proudly stands his city:In the play, King Oedipus has died, leaving his two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, to battle over the throne.
When both Eteocles and Polynices die in combat, Creon becomes the king of Thebes. As. Antigone is a tragedy by Sophocles written in or before BC. Of the three Theban plays Antigone is the third in order of the events depicted in the plays, but it is the first that was written.
The play expands on the Theban legend that predates it, and it picks up where Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes ends.
Free summary and analysis of the events in Sophocles's Antigone that won't make you snore. We promise. Antigone's Twisted Family Tree. A brave and proud young woman named Antigone is the product of a really messed up family.
Her father, Oedipus, was the King of Thebes. He unknowingly murdered his father and married his own mother, Queen Jocasta. With his wife/mother, Oedipus had two daughter/sisters and two brother/sons.
The two sisters of these ill-fated warriors are deeply concerned that the soul of the outcast will not find peace, so the more valorous Antigone performs with dirt and libations the symbolic act.
· Antigone- She is the oldest daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. Her name in Greek means ‘one who is of the opposite opinion’ (anti = opposite, gnomi = opinion).
She is the braver of Oedipus’ two daughters, and believes that her brother, Polyneices, deserves a proper burial, so she sets out to do just that.