By Sophocles; translated by Ian Johnston
Dramatis Personae (Fill in relationship information for each character listed.) ANTIGONE: ________________________ISMENE: ______________________________ CREON: ____________________________EURYDICE: ___________________________ HAEMON: __________________________TEIRESIAS: ___________________________ Polynieces: __________________________Eteocles: ______________________________ Oedipus: Father of Antigone, Ismene, Polynices Jocasta: _______________________________ and Eteocles; son and husband to Jocasta
[In Thebes, directly in front of the royal palace, which stands in the background, its main doors facing the audience. Enter Antigone leading Ismene away from the palace]
Now, dear Ismene, my own blood sister, do you have any sense of all the troubles Zeus keeps bringing on the two of us,
as long as we’re alive? All that misery which stems from Oedipus? There’s no suffering, no shame, no ruin—not one dishonour— which I have not seen in all the troubles you and I go through. What’s this they’re saying now, something our general has had proclaimed throughout the city? Do you know of it? 10 Have you heard? Or have you just missed the news? Dishonours which better fit our enemies are now being piled up on the ones we love.
I’ve had no word at all, Antigone,
nothing good or bad about our family,
not since we two lost both our brothers, killed on the same day by a double blow. And since the Argive1 army, just last night, has gone away, I don’t know any more if I’ve been lucky or face total ruin. 20
I know that. That’s why I brought you here, outside the gates, so only you can hear.
What is it? The way you look makes it seem you’re thinking of some dark and gloomy news.
Look—what’s Creon doing with our two brothers? He’s honouring one with a full funeral and treating the other one disgracefully! Eteocles, they say, has had his burial according to our customary rites,
to win him honour with the dead below. 30 But as for Polyneices, who perished
so miserably, an order has gone out
throughout the city—that’s what people say. He’s to have no funeral or lament,
but to be left unburied and unwept,
a sweet treasure for the birds to look at, for them to feed on to their heart’s content. That’s what people say the noble Creon has announced to you and me.
For Creon this matter’s really serious. 40 Anyone who acts against the order
will be stoned to death before the city. Now you know, and you’ll quickly demonstrate whether you are nobly born, or else
a girl unworthy of her splendid ancestors.
Oh my poor sister, if that’s what’s happening, what can I say that would be any help
to ease the situation or resolve it?
Think whether you will work with me in this and act together. 50
In what kind of work? What do you mean?
Will you help these hands take up Polyneices’ corpse and bury it?...