Examine the meaning of these sentences conveyed by Antigone:  "The dead man and the gods who rule the dead know whose act this was. Words are not friends."

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the primary meaning of Antigone's quote is to fully draw a line or division between she and her sister.  At this point in the drama, Ismene has been apprehended by Creon, thinking that both sisters played a role in disobeying his laws.  Antigone stands accused and Ismene, while not having done anything, seeks to take the punishment with her as a show of sisterly duty.  This is rebuffed in fairly harsh terms by Antigone, who has once again shown herself to be extremely defiant in the face of contingent reality.  Antigone's words indicate that the spirit of their dead brother and the divine forces recognize that Ismene wanted no part of the burial rites when Antigone originally had proposed it to her.  Ismene's words are not "friends," in that her words do not provide substitute for her initial rejection.  In her words, Antigone shows the singular focus that defines her character.  She is intent on suffering the ultimate price alone, recognizing that she is the only one who recognizes the need to break the law of Creon in order to achieve justice for her family's name and her own sense of honor.  It is in this defiance that she shuns everyone, including her sister as she wishes to offer some type of support.

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