Historical background and family relationship

In order to understand the play Antigone by Sophocles, it is crucial to look at the history and the family relationships between its characters.

A curse weighs on the ruling dynasty of the city Thebes (therefore on Antigone’s family), the so-called curse of the Labdacids. It is named after Antigone’s great-grandfather, Labdacus. However, the source of this curse is not Labdacus, but his son Laius. According to the Greek myths, Laius kidnapped the son of his friend Pelops while he was in exile, which led Pelops to curse him and all his descendants. According to the curse, Laius’ son would slay his father and take his mother, Jocasta, as his wife.

Fearing that this might occur, Laius entrusts his infant son, Oedipus, to a shepherd and abandons him in the Cithaeron Mountains. Soon after, Oedipus is placed in the care of the childless king Polybus of Corinth, who raises him. However, at a young age, Oedipus leaves Corinth. He consults the oracle of Delphi about his parentage, and the oracle advises him not to return to his homeland, otherwi...

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