Relationship between Antigone and Ismene

The two different sisters

In the play Antigone by Sophocles, Antigone and Ismene are sisters, daughters of Oedipus and Jocasta, nieces of Creon, and have two brothers: Eteocles and Polynices. Since Oedipus unwittingly took his own mother as his wife and both were born of this incestuous marriage, their father is also their brother, their mother is also their grandmother, and their uncle is also their great-uncle.
As members of the ruling family of Thebes, the sisters, as well as all other relatives, are burdened with the curse of the Labdacids, whose source is Laius, their grandfather. This curse means that great misfortune will befall Laius as well as all his descendants and therefore an unavoidable terrible life is in store for them.

Antigone’s character is distinguished by piety, devotion to justice, loyalty to principle, courage in death, and a strict love for family, which are reflected above all in her determination to bury Polynices: “[…] I / Will bury him. I will have a noble death / And lie with him, a dear sister with a dear brother. / Call it a crime of reverence […]” (Prologue, Scene 1, ll. 71-74).

Ismene, on the other hand, does not focus on the significance of the deed itself, but on its consequences. In view of the death of her brothers and parents, she is afraid of having to pay with ...

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