Summary and Analysis: Antigone
Antigone anticipates her approaching death by singing her own funeral dirge, and the chorus wonders if Oedipus' sins condemned his daughter to her fate.
For a woman who has been hailed as a heroine by the city, Antigone suffers a surprising amount of criticism from the chorus. The elders remind her sharply that her death was her own decision, sternly warn her not to compare herself with the gods, and even bring up the shame of her father's tragic ordeal and her incestuous birth.
Although the chorus understands the danger of Creon's arrogance, the elders are not prepared to side with Antigone, or even offer her sympathy. Their tone makes clear that they see her as a willful, passionate girl, caught in a trap of her own making.
The assault breaks through Antigone's mourning as she flares up in anger. "Why can't you wait till I am gone?" (932) she passionately responds, in a return to her characteristic strength. But when the moment fades, the audience sees Antigone sink into a melancholy isolation — the emotional equivalent of the death she will soon face.
Indeed, Antigone expresses her anguish in the very words her father used in Oedipus the King: "I am agony!" (967). The curse of Oedipus, it is clear, now has come to rest on his daughter.
Acheron a river in Hades, often identified as the river across which Charon ferries the dead.
Niobe a queen of Thebes, daughter of Tantalus, who, weeping for her slain children, is turned into a stone from which tears continue to flow.