Characters
Antigone
Antigone

Antigone:
Antigone could be considered the heroine of the play, and a tragic hero. Her parents were Oedipus and Jocasta. When her father made the mistake of killing his own dad and sleeping with his mother, the gods put a curse over his entire family, including his children: Antigone, Ismene, Polynieces, and Eteocles. Throughout the story, Antigone is proven to be very different from her sister. She is more courageous and headstrong, while her sister is very timid and outspoken. When her their two brothers, Polynieces and Eteocles fight against each other in the war of Thebes, it results in death. King Creon, the tyrant of the story, forbids the burial of Polynieces due to his treacherousness to the city. Antigone, being as stubborn as she is, refuses to allow her brother to die without respect and buries him. This act of rebellion eventually results in her death.



Creon:
Creon is the unruly King of Thebes who could also be considered a tragic hero. He is just as stubborn as Antigone, as shown throughout the story when the two continually butt heads. His reputation is very important to him and when he tries to maintain his powerful reputation, he really destroys it. When he forbids the burial of Polynieces he is being selfish and power hungry. He continually angers those around him due to his sexist actions. When he orders Antigone to death, he also causes the death of his own son, causing turmoil throughout the entire city.

Due to Creon's hubris, the lives of his loved ones and other's loved ones were lost. His pride caused him to reject the opinions of others and think only about himself. He also acted out of stubbornness and panic for fear of losing his authoritative title. This is very familiar to us in real life. Many people are so lost in their own pride and selfishness that they do not realize that they are hurting the ones around them and in the end, hurting themselves.

It is arguable that in exception to his faulty actions, he is still a great leader. Unfortunately, by the time he realizes his faults and attempts to save his city, it is too late. In order to be a good king, you must have some hubris to stop people from overpowering you. To establish a law or view, a king must be stubborn to get what he wants, or what is best for the public.



Antigone and Ismene
Antigone and Ismene
Ismene:
She is the "good girl" in the play. She is also the sister of Antigone. She is reasonable, rational, and conservative—unlike her sister. She seems to have a need to follow rules, no matter what they are or how they affect others around her. She lives by her morals and does not let anyone change her mind. She tries to stop her sister from acting in complete rebellion toward Creon, but in the end she feels true obligation to join her sister in her fateful death. Through this act of true compassion, it shows she knows what is truly right.



Chorus:
This group of people act as the narrator and the Theban elders, who are thought to be wise. They introduce the characters and the action and tragedy that will soon take place. They also help the audience
Eurydice
Eurydice
and guide them through pivotal moments in the play. Throughout the story they come and explain things further and they also speak to the actors sometimes. The chorus is also not only shown in Antigone. The Greek playwright Thespis was the first to use a group of wise people in his plays in 6th century B.C. In between the 6th and the 2nd centuries, the chorus had decreased in number from 50 to 4. Now, in modern times, the chorus ceases to exist in modern plays (5).



Eurydice:
She is the wife of Creon and the mother of Haemon. She does not have a great part in this play, but she serves as a punishment for Creon. When Creon later on destroys the city, his son, and his niece, she commits suicide in grief for her son's death.
This action results to leaving Creon entirely alone, the one thing Creon feared most. Eurydice is the last of Creon's loved ones to die, which ultimately leaves the audience to pity him for his tragic decisions.



Haemon:
He is the son of Creon and Eurydice, as well as, the fiancé of Antigone. Haemon's personality is very distinct. He is desiring, deceiving, smart, strategic, wise, and strong. He only appears twice in the play, but leaves a long lasting impression. He first agreed with his father and told him that he knew best but later showed his rejection toward his father to stand up for what he truly believed in and loved. He begged for his fiancé's life, but his father does not give in, which leads to the destruction of his relationship with his father. This eventually results to the ruin of his exalted view of his father. Through this he shows that he will never be happy with his father. This later rage leads to his tragic demise. Haemon's suicidal death causes great grief for Eurydice, which forces her to kill herself tragically. Haemon is one of the key aspects in Creon becoming a tragic hero, because he causes the audience to pity Creon, because Haemon and Eurydice's deaths.

Haemon does not try to reject his words in the beginning of the story. He does the complete opposite, by listening to every word he says and just nodding his head. He does this because he is young, foolish, and is afraid that his father will hate him or banish him. Not until he finally finds his courage does he
Oedipus
Oedipus
realize that he must be a man and stand up for his loved ones, which is exactly what he does.



Oedipus:
He is past king of Thebes and the father of Antigone, Ismene, Polyneices, and Eteocles. Before he was born, his parents
Eteocles' and Polyneices' Deaths
Eteocles' and Polyneices' Deaths
from his town. However, on the way to Thebes, he ran into a traveler, who he killed. This person happened to be his father, which he did not find out until later. When Oedipus got to Thebes, he met Queen Jocasta, a.k.a. his mother, who he married. When he eventually were told that their son would kill his father and marry his mother. Out of fear, the parents sent their child away in order to prevent this from happening. However, when Oedipus grew up, he was told the prophecy too. So, in order to stop it from happening, he ran away realized what happened, Oedipus scratched his eyes out and ran into the forest. Without knowing it, Oedipus fulfilled his fate and cursed the city of Thebes.



Polyneices:
He is one of Oedipus's two sons. Polyneices chose to fight against the city of Thebes, so when he was killed by his own brother Eteocles, he was left outside the city to rot. King Creon, in an act of revenge, ordered that anyone who buried his body to be stoned to death.



Eteocles:
He is also one of Oedipus' sons. He fights to save his empire from a curse and dies with his brother. He gets the proper burial and dies in peace, because he chose to battle with Creon rather than fighting alongside with his faithful brother, Polyneices.



Painting Of Teiresias On Ancient Pot
Painting Of Teiresias On Ancient Pot
Teiresias:
He is a wise seer who predicted the turmoil of the city of Thebes. Teiresias has never made a wrong decision and is well trusted by King Creon. He predicts the death of Haemon due to the immoral edict of Creon. He is thought of as wise but even while knowing of this Creon believes that he is lying because of greed, the root of all evil.

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Background and Plot


Oedipus, Antigone's and Ismene's father, had two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices. Upon Oedipus' death, it was agreed that each would take the throne from one year to the next. Because there was a curse on the empire Oedipus' descendants couldn't rule. After the first year, however, Eteocles, the elder, refused to step down. Polyneices and six foreign princes marched on Thebes. All were defeated. The brothers killed each other in a duel, making Creon king. Creon ordered Eteocles buried in honor but left Polyneices to rot with the orders that if anyone buried him, they would be stoned to death. Antigone, sister of Polyneices, bravely buries her brother in daylight anyway, despite the protests of her sister Ismene. Ismene also fears what punishments King Creon might have for her, for speaking to Antigone and knowing of her plans. Later on, a nervous guard enters and informs Creon that someone had began the burial rites for the rotting corpse of Polyneices. He orders the guards to uncover the body and keep the matter secret. Creon calls upon the advice of a clairvoyant friend named Teiresias who tells him that if he were to make bad decisions that trouble would be ahead for him and he would lose his power. Creon, being the stubborn person he is, believes that Teiresias was sent to him for money and to ruin his empire. Teiresias leaves and still keeps his word. The Chorus appears and announces that the tragedy is on. The guards enter with the struggling Antigone. A guard explains that Antigone was found digging Polyneices' grave by hand in broad daylight. When Antigone is proudly admitting her guilt to Creon, Ismene comes in and says that she was the one that truly buried Polyneices, hoping to be able to die with her sister and not be left alone to take on the curse that has been brought upon the family. Creon senses that Ismene is lying and arrests Antigone and sentences her to her death (to be trapped in a cave sealed with rocks, so that she cannot escape). He drops his orders to have her stoned, because he knows that the citizens of Thebes could possibly turn on him and stone him instead. Once Haemon, King Creon's son and Antigone's fiancé, finds out about what his father has done to the woman he loves, he argues with his father and then immediately goes to the cave to open it and set Antigone free. To his surprise, when he opens the cave, he discovers that Antigone has hung herself. Haemon is so upset over his fiancé's death that he too commits suicide. He stabs himself with a blade so he may be with his beloved Antigone in death. King Creon's wife, Eurydice, devastated over the loss of her son, kills herself, leaving her husband alone and cursed. Although King Creon is still king of Thebes, he is broken hearted over the loss of his beloved wife and son, and also feels guilty for what he has done. Creon relinquishes his position as king and is left by himself in the end, a crushed man who had to learn his lesson the hard way and ended up losing everyone and everything he had ever cared for. (1)


Characters:
  1. King Creon

  • Goals: Unity of Thebes, Respect, and Power
  • Internal Obstacle: Stubborn Personality
  • External Obstacle: Antigone and others who defy him

2. Antigone

  • Goal: Bury her brother
  • Internal Obstacle: None
  • External Obstacle: King Creon

3. Ismene

  • Goal: Honor her brother's death/ live a moral life
  • Internal Obstacle: Her morals prevent her from exceeding the confines of the law
  • External Obstacle: King Creon/Antigone who tries to draw Ismene from living a lawful life. Ismene is forced to choose between her two character goals.

Video on Antigone

Antigone praying to the gods
Antigone praying to the gods

References:

(1) - “Antigone.” Novel Analysis. 17 March 2008. http://www.novelguide.com/antigone/characterprofiles.html
(2) - Anouilh, Jean. “Antigone- Character List.” Sparknotes.com. 17 March 2008. http://www.sparknotes.com/drama/antigone/characters.html
(3) - “Antigone’s Family Tree.” GradeSaver.com. 17 March 2008. http://www.gradesaver.com/classicnotes/titles/antigone/section8.html
(4) - Anouilh, Jean. “Antigone- Plot Overview.” Sparknotes.com 17 March 2008. http://www.sparknotes.com/drama/antigone/summary.html
(5) - The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. "Chorus in Greek Drama". 2007. http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/ent/A0812059.html