Does Ismene Die in Antigone?

Ismene is one of a few main characters in Sophocles’ play who does not die. When her sister, Antigone, gets arrested for burying Polynices, Ismene realizes that she was wrong. Even though Creon does not allow her to do it, Ismene wants to be punished and die as well. Therefore, she stays alive in the end. 

There are a lot of characters who go ahead towards the afterlife in Sophocles’ play, but Ismene is not one of them. In the beginning, she tries to persuade Antigone that going against the law is a bad idea. However, her sister does not want to listen to any reasonable advice and proceeds with her plan to bury Polynices. It is only natural that she gets caught later. The king is not all-forgiving and orders punishment for Antigone. For her crimes, she is about to meet her death. However, during that scene, Ismene appears and begs Creon to punish her too. 

Ismene is ready to join Antigone’s fate and die. It seems like her sister’s influence is so strong that even such an obedient woman as Ismene gives up and changes her mind. However, Creon knows how loyal the other sister is and spares Ismene’s life. It appears quite logical since she never did anything wrong and even tried to prevent Antigone from committing a crime. Therefore, Ismene’s sense of order saves her from getting the same punishment as the main heroine. Also, her life does not feel like a burden, so there is no need to kill herself to become free as other characters do. 

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