What gods appear or are talked about in Sophocles' play "Antigone?"

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No gods actually appear on stage in Sophocles' play Antigone. The single most important religious figure who does appear on stage is the prophet Tiresias. As a prophet, Tiresias is  closely associated with the god Apollo, who is the god of prophecy, and refers to him in his speeches. In myth, Tiresias killed snakes sacred to Hera and was changed into a woman, lived as a woman for seven years, and then was changed back into a man. He was struck blind by Athena when he accidentally saw her bathing, but given the gift of understanding birdsong by her. 

Zeus, the king of the gods is mentioned by the chorus, and is evoked in his role as a god of justice and order. Creon mentions Zeus in his argument that it is important to obey the commands of lawful rulers and to respect the rule of law. Antigone uses Zeus as evidence of a power greater than Creon who insists on justice, and argues that she is obeying Zeus in disobeying Creon. Zeus' justice and will are frequently mentioned by the chorus.

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is mentioned when the chorus discusses the impending marriage of Haemon and Antigone. Especially towards the middle of the play, Antigone mentions Hades, the god of the underworld. 

The chorus mentions Ares in his role as a war god, the Fates in connection with the curse of Oedipus and his offspring, and Dionysus' deeds as an example of what happens when humans offend the gods. 

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