Antigone | Daughter of Oedipus

Antigone Greek Mythology

Antigone (Greek Ἀντιγόνη) is a figure in Greek mythology, the sister of Ismenia, Polynices and Ethocles, all children of the incestuous marriage of Oedipus and Jocasta. In another version, the mother of Oedipus' children was named Eurigania, daughter of Hyperphas.

The classic version of the myth about Antigone is described in the work Antigone by the Greek playwright Sophocles, one of the most important writers of tragedy. This work is one of three that make up what became known as the Theban Trilogy, of which Oedipus the King and Oedipus in Colono also form part.

These three plays were joined together later, and were not part of the same trilogy when Sophocle wrote them. In fact, each was part of a different trilogy, but only these three plays have made it to the present day.

Daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, who had three other children, Aetocles, Ismenia, and Polynices. She was as fine an example of brotherly love as Alcestes was of marital love.

She was the only daughter who did not abandon Oedipus when he was driven out of his kingdom, Thebes, by his two sons. Her brother, Polynices, tried to convince her not to leave the kingdom, while Aetocles was indifferent to her departure. Antigone accompanied her father in his exile until his death. When she returned to Thebes, her brothers were fighting for the throne.

Polynices marries Argia, the eldest daughter of Adrasto, king of Argos, and together with him arms an attack against Thebes, which is called the expedition of the "Seven against Thebes" in which Amphiarau predicts that no one would survive, only the king of Argos.

Since the war led nowhere the two brothers decide to dispute the throne with a singular combat in which they both die. Creon, their uncle, inherits the throne, makes a grave with full honors for Aetheocles, and leaves Polynices where he fell, so that his corpse would be exposed to putrefaction and laceration, forbidding anyone to bury him under penalty of death.

Antigone, indignant, tries to convince the new king to bury him, because whoever died without the funeral rites would be condemned to wander one hundred years on the banks of the river that led to the world of the dead, without being able to go to the other side.

Not satisfied, she steals the unburied corpse that was being watched, and tries to bury Polynices with her own hands, but is arrested while doing so.

In Sophocles' version, Creon orders her to be buried alive. Her sister Ismenia tries to defend her and offers to die in her place, something that Antigone does not accept, and Hemon, her fiancé and Creon's son, unable to save her, commits suicide. Upon learning that her son had committed suicide, Eurydice, Creon's wife, also kills herself.

In Hyginus' version, Antigone and Argia, respectively Polynices' sister and wife, secretly placed his body on the pyre where Aetocles' body would be burned. They were seen by the guards, but Argia manages to escape.

Creon commissioned his son Hémon, Antigone's fiancé, to execute her, but he secretly turned her over to the shepherds. Years later, when their son returned to Thebes to participate in games, Creon recognized on his grandson's body the mark of the descendants of the Dragon of Ares.

Heracles begged Creon to forgive his son, to no avail. Hémon killed himself, and killed Antigone. Creon then married his daughter Mégara to Heracles, and from this union Thermachus and Ophites were born.