A daughter of Oedipus by his mother Iocaste. She had two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, and a sister Ismene. In the tragic story of Oedipus Antigone appears as a noble maiden, with a truly heroic attachment to her father and brothers. When Oedipus, in despair at the fate which had driven him to murder his father, and commit incest with his mother, had put out his eyes, and was obliged to quit Thebes, he went to Attica guided and accompanied by his attached daughter Antigone.1 She remained with him till he died in Colonus, and then returned to Thebes.
Haemon, the son of Creon, had, according to Apollodorus, died before this time; but Sophocles, to suit his own tragic purposes, represents him as alive and falling in love with Antigone. When Polynices, subsequently, who had been expelled by his brother Eteocles, marched against Thebes (in the war of the Seven), and the two brothers had fallen in single combat, Creon, who now succeeded to the throne, issued an edict forbidding, under heavy penalties, the burial of their bodies. While every one else submitted to this impious command, Antigone alone defied the tyrant, and buried the body of Polynices. According to Apollodorus,2 Creon had her buried alive in the same tomb with her brother. According to Sophocles, she was shut up in a subterraneous cave, where she killed herself, and Haemon, on hearing of her death, killed himself by her side; so that Creon too received his punishment. A different account of Antigone is given by Hyginus.3
Aeschylus and Sophocles made the story of Antigone the subject of tragedies, and that of the latter, one of the most beautiful of ancient dramas, is still extant. Antigone acts a part in other extant dramas also, as in the Seven against Thebes of Aeschylus, in the Oedipus in Colonus of Sophocles, and in the Phoenissae of Euripides.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.