Three Theban Plays: Antigone, by Sophocles

My copy: 9781593082352 (image from Amazon.com)

Ah, the one I know best, and one of the best heroines in western literature. Antigone expands on the story of her ill-fated family and the messages regarding religion and law. Antigone’s position is simple: the laws of gods supersede the laws of man, and must be adhered to, regardless of mortal risk.

Creon, now king after Polynices and Eteocles died in battle, made a law stipulating that Polynices, considered a traitor to Thebes, did not deserve a proper burial. He decreed that anyone who tried would be considered a traitor and earn a death sentence. Antigone is upset and asks Ismene, her sister, to help her bury their brother. Ismene, however, is too afraid of angering her uncle by disobeying the law, afraid of death. Antigone is annoyed and will bury Polynices alone.

When Creon finds that someone has performed at least minimal honors, considering the landscape, he’s furious and demands guards around the area and the body uncovered. Antigone is found to be the one trying to cover him up the second time and the confrontation between she and Creon is certainly worth reading.

This is the last of the trilogy regarding the nature of the gods and humans, religious law and human laws. It is a great play, and I love the Antigone character. Creon, at first, I believed to be a bit excessive in his lack of caring. Then I remembered what I read of him in Oedipus of Colonus and it makes more sense. The man has this push-over, nearly inflexible mentality and I can see why things played out the way they did with him in this one.

Anyway, I liked what this play, and the ones before it, brought up. Worth a read.

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