Why Does Antigone Use Bridal Imagery to Speak of Her Imminent Death?

Creon condemns Antigone to death, and just when she is about to enter the tomb, she gives the last speech. She compares her final destination to a bridal bed. Antigone implies that even though she will not have a chance to marry Haemon, she will still become a bride, but the one of death. 

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In Sophocles’ play, there are many tragic moments, and the last Antigone’s speech is one of them. After the king decides on the type of punishment appropriate for her crimes, it is time to get it done. The guards take Antigone to the tomb where she is supposed to die. In her final words, she compares the rock to a bridal bed. Since the young girl is supposed to become Haemon’s wife, this metaphor has a special meaning. Sophocles uses this imagery on purpose to highlight how every aspect of our life finds its reflection elsewhere. Antigone could not become Haemon’s bride since she is about to be entombed alive. However, she implies that she is soon to marry death itself. The marriage was planned, so the girl needs to proceed with it one way or another. 

On the other hand, some people can see a slightly different explanation of that imagery. After Haemon finds his fiancé’s dead body, he goes so desperate that he commits suicide. In a way, he joins his beloved on the other side to marry her there. The couple is reunited and can rest in peace together. However, Antigone could not have known that when she was entering her tomb. Therefore, her words might have been an element of foreshadowing. 

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