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Antigone Structure

In Sophocles's Antigone, Antigone finds out that her brother died in the war. It turns out he was a traitor and was consequently killed. Creon, the king, has decreed that the traitor is not be buried, but rather left to be picked apart by buzzards. Antigone feels she owes her brother a burial. Her sister, Ismene, tries to persuade Antigone against it, because she'll incur Creon's wrath. Antigone rebuffs Ismene, because she feels her familial duty overrides her duty to country. She buries her brother. Creon finds out about it. He confronts Antigone. Antigone will not repent. Creon will not forgive. Creon sentences Antigone for breaking the law. The sentence is carried out. A messenger arrives to tell Creon that because of his punishment of Antigone, Creon's son dies and, consequently, the war is lost. Both Antigone and Creon end up worse off, because of their pride and unwillingness to compromise. Hubris—it's a Greek thing.


  • Antigone: the protagonist
  • Ismene: Antigone's sister and the voice of reason
  • Creon: the antagonist
  • Adviser: a flunky for Creon
  • Messenger: carries the moral of the story


  1. (Antigone, Ismene) Antigone finds out about the situation and decides to do something about it, based on her beliefs. Ismene tries to dissuade her, but fails.
    • Antigone is going to do something against Creon's wishes.
    • This could have negative consequences.
    • Antigone is aware of this, but disregards it.
    • Antigone puts one principle above all others.
  2. optional (Antigone) Antigone carries out her intentions.
  3. (Creon, Adviser) Creon finds out about Antigone's deeds. Creon gets mad against his adviser's advice. He calls for Antigone.
    • Antigone is going to get in trouble.
    • Like Antigone, Creon puts one principle above all others.
  4. (Creon, Antigone) Creon confronts Antigone about her deeds. Antigone defends herself. Neither Creon, nor Antigone back down from their extreme position. Creon sentenced Antigone.
    • Antigone and Creon can't compromise or see the value in each other's position.
    • Creon has the power.
    • Thus, Antigone will get punished.
  5. optional (Creon, Ismene) Ismene pleads for mercy from Creon. He refuses.
    • This enforces that Creon is unwilling to compromise, even when being plead to.
  6. optional (Antigone, Adviser) Antigone's punishment gets carried out.
  7. (Creon, Adviser, Messenger) Creon finds out that the punishment was carried out by his adviser. A messenger shows up to inform Creon that his punishment had negative consequences for Creon. Creon realizes his hubris. The adviser concludes the play with a warning to the audience.
    • This shows the consequences of Creon's hubris.
    • It enforces the moral—hubris and sticking-to-one-principle is bad.