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Antigone’s Family Tree, History, and Characters in the Play

Characters to Know in the Prequel to Antigone:

Laius: Married to Jocasta and father of Oedipus. When the oracle told him that his son would kill him and marry his
wife, he gave the baby to a shepard to kill. Much later when the baby grows into a man named Oedipus, the
prophecy is fullfilled.

Oedipus: Son of Laius and Jocasta, but is abandened as a baby and given to the king an queen of Corinth and raised
as their child. When an orcle tells him that he will kill his father and marry his mother, he abandons Corinth to
escape his fate. After killing his real father in a fight on the road, he encounters the Sphinx guarding Thebes. He
solves the Sphinx’s riddle (causing the Sphinx to kill herself) and becomes the hero of Thebes: he marries the queen
Jocasta, and he has four children with her. Much later he finds out that he did in fact fulfill the oracle’s prophecy.
Oedipus gouges out his eyes as punishment for having been blind to the truth and nanishes himself from Thebes to
wander the countryside as a beggar. He took his daughters Antigone and Ismene with him as his caretakers.

Jocasta: The wife of Laius until he is killed. Marries Oedipus and conceives four children with him. When she finds
out what she has done, she hangs herself.

Polyneices and Eteocles: The twin sons of Oedipus. After Oedipus’ banishment from Thebes the two brothers
agree to rule Thebes in alternating years. Etocles’ turn came first, but when it ended, he refused to give up his
throne to Polyneices. Polyneices fled to the city of Argos, where he raised an army and attacked the seven gates of
Thebes. The Thebans resisted each assult, but in the course of the battle, Etocles and Polyneices killed each other.

Megareus: The son of Creon and Eurydice. He is killed in the battle between Oedipus’ sons.

After the Battle Between Polyneices and Etocles:


Creon then became the king of Thebes and gave Eteocles, his ally, a hero’s burial. Creon considered Polyneices a
traitor, so he decreed that his body be left unburied, to rot in the sun outside the city gates. To the Greeks this was
a terrible punishment: Their holiest laws demanded that certain burial rites be preformed, or else the soul of the
dead person would be condemned to eternal unrest. This is the basis for Creon’s conflict with the strong-willed
Antigone. As you will see, she believes God’s laws must be obeyed, whatever the consequences.
Characters in Antigone

Antigone – Daughter (and half-sister) of Oedipus, sister of Ismene, niece of Creon, and fiancée of Haemon.

Ismene – Sister of Antigone.

Creon – Brother-in-law of Oedipus, Creon becomes king of Thebes when Oedipus's two sons die while battling each
other for control of the city. Creon believes in the rule of law and the authority of the state above all else.

Haemon – Son of Creon and fiancé of Antigone.

Tiresias – The blind prophet, or seer, who warns Creon about his decisions

Eurydice – Wife of Creon and mother of Haemon.

The Chorus – In Antigone, the chorus represents the elder citizens of Thebes. Sophocles's choruses react to the
events of the play. The chorus speaks as one voice, or sometimes through the voice of its leader. It praises, damns,
cowers in fear, asks or offers advice, and generally helps the audience interpret the play.

A Sentry – The sentry brings news from the battlefield to Creon at the beginning of the play.

A Messenger – The messenger gives news and information about the fates of characters.

Structure of Play:
Below is a pictorial representation of the structure of the play. Notice that there is a prologue and parodos,
followed by five episodes or scenes. In between each scene is an ode. This is where the chorus comments on the
action of the scene the audience just watched. The play ends with an exodos. This is like an epilogue.