In Antigone, what role do the gods play in the story?

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For most of the tragic play Antigone, Sophocles relegates the gods to the background and treats them as little more than unseen observers who take no active role in the events of the play.

Early in the play, when Ismene refuses to help Antigone bury their brother, Polyneices, Antigone makes a passing reference to the will of the gods.

ANTIGONE. As for thee,
Scorn, if thou wilt, the eternal laws of Heaven.

Otherwise, the "eternal laws of heaven" aren't part of Antigone's appeal to Ismene. Antigone appeals to Ismene as her sister and as Polyneices's sister to do what's right for Polyneices.

On his entrance in the play, Creon perfunctorily credits the gods with bringing an end to the civil war.

CREON. Elders, the gods have righted one again
Our storm-tossed ship of state, now safe in port.

Then Creon gets down to other business, including making an official edict forbidding anyone from burying Polyneices, on pain of death. When the Guard reports to Creon that an unknown individual tried to bury...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1502 words.)

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