What is Eurydice's role in Antigone and is her presence essential to the story?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Eurydice's role in the play as Creon's wife and Haimon's mother is essential in the story because her death completes the fulfillment of Teiresias' prophecy. Shortly before the play's conclusion, Teiresias issues this warning to Creon:

The time is not far off when you shall pay back

Corpse for corpse, flesh of your own flesh.

You have thrust the child of this world into living night,

You have kept from the gods below the child that is theirs:

Although Creon first treats Teiresias with contempt, after the old seer leaves him, Creon acts to right the wrongs he has committed. He will free Antigone from her tomb and arrange an honorable burial for Polyneices. He is too late, however. Antigone commits suicide before Creon can free her. Haimon, Creon and Eurydice's son, commits suicide out of his grief for the lost Antigone, and Eurydice then takes her own life when she receives word that Haimon is dead. With the deaths of Eurydice and Haimon, Teiresias' prophecy comes true. Creon has indeed paid back "corpse for corpse" for his sins against Antigone and Polyneices.

Adding to Creon's torment is the knowledge that Eurydice's last words were to curse him. Teiresias prophesied that "the dark gods of hell" will punish Creon swiftly and terribly and that Creon's house "will be full of men and women weeping." The death of Eurydice immediately following the loss of Haimon fulfills the remainder of the prophecy.

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