In Antigone, Jean Anouilh centers on the opposition between Creon and Antigone and shows how Creon’s son, Haemon, also opposes his father’s ideas and actions. In opposing the king, both characters retain their integrity by refusing to compromise their principles, but die in the end.
Creon recently became king when both contenders to their father Oedipus's throne died in a civil war. He is greatly concerned with preventing further violence. Part of his plan is to deny burial to the rebellious brother, Polynices. Antigone, the men’s sister, is outraged and dismayed by Creon’s edict. Concerned not only about her brother’s postmortem fate and the insult to her family, she determines to intervene and see that Polynices is properly buried. She accepts that Creon will have her killed for doing so, but regard for her own safety is not an issue. She is compelled to follow established religious practice because it was mandated by the gods.
Haemon, who is Creon’s son, is likewise disturbed by his father’s commands. Not only does he deeply love Antigone, he cannot support Creon’s proposal to violate the gods’s will. Confronting his father about the injustice and rashness of the plan, he does not accept Creon's idea of compromising as an indicator of maturity. After Antigone is killed, both he and his mother die by suicide.