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Antigone Short Summary

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There is a siege in Thebes. Those involved are brothers; Polynices and Eteocles. By the end of the war, the two brothers kill each other. Their death was predicted by their father, Oedipus, who was once the ruler of the kingdom. Before Oedipus died, he had instructed his sons to take control of the kingdom in turns every year. However, Eteocles took control the first year and refused to give up power to his brother Polynices the next year. Therefore, Polynices wanted to force him out of power. The brothers also had two sisters; Antigone and Ismene.

Here Is a Quick Overview of the Story

Ismene and Antigone are engaged in a conversation. From their talk, the reader can deduce that Creon, the new King, has issued an order that Eteocles being a worrier who has defended the town when under attack should be buried honorably. On the other hand, Polynices, considered an invader, does not deserve any respect. Consequently, his body should be left outside to rot. Anyone who defies the decree and decides to bury Polynices is an enemy of the kingdom and should be killed by stoning. Antigone is unhappy with this directive and plans to bury Polynices. Ismene is against Antigone’s plan.

When Creon notices that there is someone who tried to bury Polynices, he is furious and says the guilty one should be immediately found. When Antigone’s plan is discovered, she passionately defends her plan that the idea not to bury Polynices is something that even the gods cannot support. Creon’s only concern is to follow the law of the kingdom. As a result, he does not listen to any pleas from Antigone. The final verdict is that Antigone and Ismene should be killed.

Haemon, the son of Creon who had an interest in marrying Antigone, is not happy with Creon’s decision to kill her. While Haemon accuses Creon of being arrogant, Creon says that Haemon is a weakling who sides with women. As a compromise, Creon decides to spare Ismene.

Prophet Tiresias opposes Creon’s decision to kill Antigone. Though Creon resists at fast, he decides to bury Polynices and set Antigone free. This comes too late as Antigone had already committed suicide. Haemon also kills himself. From the shock of Haemon’s death, the queen, Eurydice also commits suicide and curses Creon. In deep pain, Creon feels he is responsible for the tragedy. The allegory by Sophocles ends with a somber chorus.

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