Sophocles describes the period right after the war for Thebes in which two brothers killed each other. The next day, Creon, who becomes a new king, gives strict orders. Antigone takes her sister out of the city to tell her the news. That is how Ismene gets to know that Creon ordered not to bury Polynices’ body at all.
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The play pictures the aftermath of the war. While the two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, killed each other, their uncle takes the throne. Creon appears to be a strict king and immediately decides to set the new rules. First of all, Eteocles needs to be buried with all the possible honors since he was the one who protected the city. Polynices, on the other hand, tried to win Thebes with force, so Creon sees him as a traitor. The second brother’s body shall be left outside to rot. It is the king’s order, and anyone who tries to go against it becomes a criminal.
Antigone takes her sister, Ismene, to go outside the city. There, behind the gates, with no unwanted listeners, she has something to tell her. Antigone shares the recent news with Ismene about Creon’s orders. One of their brothers was denied a proper burial, which angers the main character. Later, she decides to act by herself and break the king’s law. For Antigone, it is unacceptable to disrespect traditions, and the gods’ will like that. Since Ismene is not as rebellious as her sister, Antigone goes to honor Polynices alone.