Antigone (an-TIH-guh-nee), the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, engaged to marry Haemon, son of King Creon and Queen Eurydice of Thebes. After Oedipus’ death, Oedipus’ son Eteocles ascended to the throne, but after one year he broke an agreement with his brother Polynices to share power with him. This action provoked a civil war in which both brothers were killed. Creon then became king. He ordered that the body of Polynices not be buried in order to discourage further rebellion. Antigone realized that Creon’s decree violated Greek religious law, which required that a body be buried before a soul could cross the River Styx. Were she to obey Creon’s arbitrary law, Antigone would violate her religious beliefs. She risks her life to observe a higher moral code. Creon offers to spare her life if she promises not to try again to bury Polynices. Antigone refuses, however, to compromise her moral principles. Creon then condemns her to death. Antigone’s death provokes the suicides of both Haemon and Eurydice.
Creon, Oedipus’ brother, an uncle to both Antigone and Ismène. He is a cynical dictator who demands blind obedience to his laws from others but grants absolute powers to himself. He affirms that social order has nothing to do with moral and political freedom. He treats Antigone condescendingly and does not want to understand Antigone’s refusal to compromise her...
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