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Antigone by Sophocles - Summary

Sophocles' "Antigone" is a timeless Greek tragedy that explores themes of defiance, loyalty, and the conflict between personal beliefs and state laws. This summary focuses on the key elements and messages of the play, presented in a concise manner suitable for blog posts.


  • Author: Sophocles
  • Genre: Greek Tragedy
  • Main Characters: Antigone, Ismene, Creon, Haimon, Teiresias
  • Setting: The city of Thebes, shortly after the end of a civil war

Plot Summary

The play opens at dawn, with Antigone and Ismene, the daughters of Oedipus, discussing a decree made by Creon, the new ruler of Thebes. Creon has decided that Polynices, who led an attack against Thebes, is not to be buried with honors but left unburied as a traitor. Antigone is determined to defy Creon's decree and give her brother a proper burial, despite Ismene's fears and objections.

Key Scenes

  • Prologue: Antigone reveals her plan to bury Polynices, despite Creon’s edict.
  • Conflict with Creon: Antigone's defiance against Creon’s law sets the central conflict of the play.
  • Moral and Ethical Dilemmas: The characters grapple with choices between familial loyalty and civic duty, divine law versus human law.


  1. Law and Justice: Antigone challenges the concept of legal justice versus moral righteousness.
  2. Resistance and Obedience: The play examines the limits of authority and the moral obligation to resist unjust laws.
  3. Fate and Free Will: Reflects on human agency against the backdrop of divine fate.


"Antigone" is a profound exploration of the struggle between the individual and the state, personal conscience versus societal norms. Sophocles masterfully presents a tragic hero in Antigone, whose unwavering commitment to her family and gods leads to her ultimate demise, prompting the audience to reflect on the nature of justice and duty.