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Antigone
Novel Summary
Character Profiles
Metaphor Analysis
Theme Analysis
Top Ten Quotes
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Antigone



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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

 

Chapter 1

The opening scene in Antigone starts in the middle of a conversation between Antigone and her sister, Ismene. Antigone is convinced that it is her duty to bury Polynices, her brother, who is being left uncovered at the command of Creon, the king of Thebes. The play doesn't go into detail about Polynices- only that he was a traitor to Thebes and enemy of the city.

Ismene is unequivocally opposed to Antigone's plans, citing the king's law which forbids burial of the corpse. She does not believe, as Antigone does, that the king's command can be broken for religious reasons. But Antigone responds to her by saying, "...if it is a crime, then it's a crime that God commands."

After this discussion, the Chorus enters, glorifying in Thebes' recent victory against outside attack. Here it mentions Polynices briefly, exalting the Theban gods as well as Creon for their success.

Soon Creon enters, reiterating his command that anyone who buries Polynices will be put to death. He proclaims, "He's not to have a grave or any mourning. His corpse is to be left, a grim warning, pecked at by the birds and worried by the dogs. That is my policy. A malefactor mustn't have the same treatment as the loyal man."

Soon a guard enters, bringing bad news. It seems someone has tampered with the body, burying and blessing it as the Greek custom (and the gods) mandates. Creon grows suddenly enraged, blaming the guard for his lack of vigilance. Creon even goes so far as to suggest that the guard himself buried the corpse for money.

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