Who is the protangonist and the antagonist in the play Antigone?

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poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The protagonist of Sophocles' Antigone is the titular character, Antigone, who is the sister of the slain Polyneices. After a decree by Creon--the ruler of Thebes and the antagonist of the play--that Polyneices' body must be left without holy rites or a burial in order to publicly shame him for his rebellious behavior, Antigone goes against the law and attempts to give her beloved brother a proper burial. This infuriates Creon, who has Antigone imprisoned and plans to have her buried alive in a cave as punishment for her insolence and violation of the decree.

Despite the city's grief over this decision and the warning of the blind prophet, Tiresias, Creon refuses to change his mind. Antigone kills herself, which sets off a chain of other death: the subsequent suicides of Creon's son, Haemon, and his wife, Eurydice. Ultimately, Creon is the one who suffers for acting out against the wishes of the gods.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When we consider what the central conflict of the play is it becomes clear that the protagonist and antagonist of the play are Antigone and Creon. As the play begins, we are presented with a grief-stricken Antigone because she has just found out that Creon, the ruler of Thebes, has decreed that anyone who died rebelling against his rule must not be buried or mourned. Antigone is caught between following the gods and their rules and the rules of Creon - the ruler of Thebes since the death of her father. To break this rule would be punishable by death:


disobeys in teh least will die, his doom is sealed:

stoning to death inside the city walls!

Thus it is clear that Antigone is the protagonist, trying to struggle to be faithful to her brother and the gods, whilst the character opposing her is Creon.