Antigone by Sophocles
daughter of Oedipus.
daughter of Oedipus, sister of Antigone
CREON: king of
HAEMON: son of
Creon and Euridice, engaged to Antigone.
old blind prophet
BOY: a young
lad guiding Teiresias
soldier serving Creon.
directly in front of the royal palace, which stands in the
its main doors facing the audience.]
Antigone leading Ismene away from the palace]
Ismene, my own blood sister,
do you have
any sense of all the troubles
bringing on the two of us,
as long as
weíre alive? All that misery
from Oedipus? Thereís no suffering,
no ruinónot one dishonouró
have not seen in all the troubles
you and I
go through. Whatís this theyíre saying now,
our general has had proclaimed
the city? Do you know of it?
heard? Or have you just missed the news?
which better fit our enemies
being piled up on the ones we love.
Iíve had no
word at all, Antigone,
good or bad about our family,
we two lost both our brothers,
the same day by a double blow.
the Argive army, just last night,
away, I donít know any more
been lucky or face total ruin.
that. Thatís why I brought you here,
gates, so only you can hear.
What is it?
The way you look makes it seem
thinking of some dark and gloomy news.
Creon doing with our two brothers?
honouring one with a full funeral
treating the other one disgracefully!
they say, has had his burial
to our customary rites,
to win him
honour with the dead below.
But as for
Polyneices, who perished
miserably, an order has gone out
the cityóthatís what people say.
have no funeral or lament,
but to be
left unburied and unwept,
treasure for the birds to look at,
for them to
feed on to their heartís content.
people say the noble Creon
announced to you and meóI mean to meó
heís coming to proclaim the fact,
to state it
clearly to those who have not heard.
this matterís really serious.
acts against the order
stoned to death before the city.
know, and youíll quickly demonstrate
are nobly born, or else
unworthy of her splendid ancestors.
Oh my poor
sister, if thatís whatís happening,
what can I
say that would be any help
to ease the
situation or resolve it?
whether you will work with me in this
In what kind of work?
What do you
Will you help these hands
take up Polyneicesí
corpse and bury it?
Youíre going to bury Polyneices,
been made a crime for all in Thebes?
do my duty to my brotheró
as well, if youíre not prepared to.
I wonít be
caught betraying him.
Youíre too rash.
not expressly banned that act?
heís no right to keep me from whatís mine.
Think, Antigone. Consider
father died, hated and disgraced,
mistakes which his own search revealed
to turn his hand against himself
out both his eyes. Then that woman,
and his wifeóher double roleó
her own life in a twisted noose.
thereís our own two brothers, both butchered
in a single
dayóthat ill-fated pair
own hands slaughtered one another
about their common doom.
two of us are left here quite alone.
weíll die far worse than all the rest,
if we defy
the law and move against
decree, against his royal power.
remember that by birth weíre women,
such, we shouldnít fight with men.
who rule are much more powerful,
obey in this and in events
us even harsher agonies.
So Iíll ask
those underground for pardonó
being compelled, I will obey
control. Thatís what Iím forced to do.
It makes no
sense to try to do too much.
urge you to. No. Not even
if you were
keen to act. Doing this with you
me no joy. So be what you want.
bury him. It would be fine to die
that. Iíll lie there with him,
with a man
I love, pure and innocent,
for all my
crime. My honours for the dead
much longer than for those up here.
down there forever. As for you,
you wish, you can show contempt
laws the gods all hold in honour.
disrespecting them. But I canít act
state. Thatís not in my nature.
Let that be
your excuse. Iím going now
to make a
burial mound for my dear brother.
Antigone, Iím so afraid for you.
for me. Set your own fate in order.
you donít reveal to anyone
intend. Keep it closely hidden.
Iíll do the
No, no. Announce the factó
donít let everybody know,
despise your silence even more.
is hot to do cold deeds.
But I know
the ones Iím duty bound to please.
Yes, if you
can. But youíre after something
youíre incapable of carrying out.
Well, when my strength
is gone, then Iíll give up.
attempt should not be made at all.
you if youíre going to talk that way.
rightly earn the loathing of the dead.
So leave me
and my foolishness aloneó
through this fearful thing. I wonít suffer
bad as a disgraceful death.
then, go, if thatís what you think right.
remember thisóeven though your mission
beautiful that ever shone
city of the seven gates,
appeared at last,
eye of golden day,
above the streams of Dirce,
into headlong flight
white-shield warrior from Argos,
here fully armed,
by the warring claims
Polyneices, with piercing screams,
flying above our land,
wings as white as snow,
of warriors in arms,
topped with horsehair crests.
above our homes,
around our seven gates,