71 pages 2 hours read



Fiction | Play | Adult | BCE

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Scene 5 and 5th Ode

Scene 5 and 5th Ode Summary

Singing to the people of Thebes, Antigone laments her coming death and loss of marriage rites. The Chorus reminds her that as she is “answering only to the law of yourself” (881), her death is a glorious one. Antigone compares herself to Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus, who was transformed into stone by the gods. Antigone sees herself, like Niobe, ordained to die. The Chorus rebukes her for comparing herself to divine figures. Antigone grows angry that the Chorus is insulting her when she is still in their presence, knowing she will die so soon. The Chorus reminds her that she has acted against the law and that her cursed family history brought her this fate. Antigone laments this cruel family history.

Kreon enters and orders his men to take away Antigone and seal her in a cave. Antigone continues to lament her fate, questioning the will of the gods in allowing such a thing to happen when she has only shown reverence to her family. In her final words onstage, she instructs all still living to look and remember what she must suffer “for having been / Reverent towards reverence” (1,011), respectful to the necessity of reverential rites for the dead.