Prior to the events of Sophocles's Antigone, Eteocles challenges his older brother's claim to the Theban throne. In response, Polynices raises an army and attacks his native city. The two brothers kill each other. Eteocles dies defending Thebes and is granted a full burial with honors by Creon. Since Polynices attacked his own city, he is viewed as a traitor, and Creon decrees that his body is to remain unburied on the battlefield. He threatens to have anyone who attempts to bury Polynices killed.
Antigone is outraged and heartbroken by Creon's edict. She begs her sister, Ismene, to help her bury Polynices, but Ismene refuses. Antigone defies Creon's orders and buries her brother's body. When Creon finds out, he sentences both sisters to death. He later amends this and decides Ismene will live and Antigone will be entombed and left to starve to death.
As she is being led away to be entombed, Antigone speaks her last words:
O look upon me,
The last that remain of a line of kings!
How savagely impious men use me,
For keeping a law that is holy.
Antigone maintains that she has done nothing wrong. She calls on the people of Thebes to witness the injustice with which she is being treated. She believes the laws of the gods to be higher than the laws of people. In accordance with the laws of the gods, she gives her brother a proper burial, even though her actions defy Creon's orders (the laws of people). She is willing to die for her choice to honor her brother with a proper burial. She is in this way a martyr who dies defending her beliefs.