- Antigone and Ismene discuss the piteous plight of their family. Antigone informs Ismene of Creon’s decision to forbid proper rites of burial for their brother Polyneices. She also tells Ismene that she plans to renounce the king’s orders. Ismene warns Antigone against defying Creon and jeopardizing her life, but Antigone is adamant. She gets caught in the act of burying Polyneices and is brought before Creon, who asks her to relent. She refuses, and he sentences her to death
- Antigone begins at the height of the battle of Thebes. That battle pits Antigone’s father, Oedipus, against her uncle Creon. Jocasta, Antigone’s mother, can’t bear the burden of seeing her family turn on each other, and she hangs herself. Oedipus blinds himself in grief over losing his mother and renounces his throne. He condemns himself to a life of exile, accompanied by his daughters, Antigone and Ismene.
- At the outset of Antigone, the city of Thebes is ravaged with plague and bloodshed. Antigone knows that the plague is in part because of her incestuous bloodline. She attempts to rid the city of its troubles by urging her father, Oedipus, to renounce the throne and leave the city behind in peace. However, Antigone’s brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, have different plans. They oppose Antigone by trying to maintain their father’s position as head of state.
- Antigone and Ismene are deeply dismayed that their brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, have declared war on each another. They plead with their gracious uncle King Creon to call off the battle and save both their brothers’ lives. Creon does his best to comply with his nieces’ wishes but he is only able to save Polyneices. This failure enrages Antigone, who blames Creon for Eteocles’ demise. She vows revenge on Creon and wishes doom on the city of Thebes.