What is the contrast between Antigone and Ismene in their conversation during the prologue of Sophocles' Antigone?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sophocles's Antigone is the final play of his Oedipus cycle and portrays the fates of Oedipus's four children: his sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, and his daughters, Antigone and Ismene.

After the events of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus abdicates the throne of Thebes, and his sons agree to share the kingship, each taking command on alternating years. Eteocles refuses to give up the throne once he has control of it, however, and the city is plunged into civil war between the brothers. Antigone opens at the end of that war. Eteocles and Polyneices are both dead, and Oedipus's brother-in-law, Creon, has now ascended to the throne. Creon has ordered that Eteocles be buried with the honor due a dead king, while Polyneices must be left to rot outside the city walls as a warning to any dissident factions within Thebes.

Antigone learns of this decree before Ismene does and pulls Ismene aside to express her outrage that not only will Polyneices not receive a burial, anyone who attempts to bury him privately will...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 971 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team