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Antigone Sophocles

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by Sophocles

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(The opening scene takes place in front of an elite mansion.
This is the mansion of Creon, current leader of Thebes.)

(Enter Antigone and Ismene.)


Ismene, my sister, my blood. It seems that the roots of our family tree taint us with genetic negativity. Are we doomed? Do you see any other answer? Our father, our brother, who art in Hades, cursed is his name, for eternity bound with psychological perversity, for unknowingly marrying his and our mother. Now we suffer.


I don't know...


Don't know!? Shame & dishonour are heaped upon our family. Not only do the old whispers persist but now this new proclamation by the Commander and Chief. Haven't you been paying attention to the news? Don't you understand? This new decree, this proclamation by our esteemed leader brings new burdens for our family, our clan. The wolf is at the door.

(Oedipus, former King of Thebes,
is both father and half brother of Antigone.
They share the same mother, Queen Jocasta.
As prophesied, Oedipus slays his father and marries his mother.
Oedipus was thrown away by his father because of this prophecy.
The fearful act of discarding his son precipitates the fulfillment of the prophecy.
Antigone is one of four children that Jocasta has in her second marriage, to her own son Oedipus.)


I don't know... I don't listen to the news, Antigone. The good, the bad, it's a never ceasing river of overwhelming & depressing information. The last I heard, our two brothers died battling each other. Fratricide. The foolishness of boys and men. Dying by their own hands.


Our two brothers, join our father, our brother, in Hades.


After they killed each other, the Argive Army fled into the night. It seems my ears never cease to ring. Tinnitus so loud, as if someone is not only whispering but shouting about my sorrow. Even as the victory of our own army should give me hope and raise my spirits, the blood of my brothers tears all joy from my heart, leaving only sorrow...


I share this sorrow, thus I summoned you here. As ever, the walls have ears. As if tiny eyes watch every move, and hidden ears grab even whispers.


The social chain turns ones' private sorrow into a shout, it is as if a tiny bird hears and tweets our intimate secrets, inscribing them in a book of sorrow to be forever canted in a web of deceit.


Let's face it. The only privacy we have is outside of the walls that should protect us.


And even here we could be held up for ridicule with the blinking of an eye. Tell me. What is it that causes the tremble in your voice? Your face cannot conceal your need to share.


Creon, our mighty leader, gives burial to our brother Eteocles, yet leaves the other to rot in the sun as food for the crows. Thus our brother Polynices is denied passage across the River Styx to the dimensions of the dead. The eternal rituals of the dead demand that his body be burned in sacred pyre then the ashes buried in the earth. To allow him, his body to go untended, left as carrion for the dogs and crows is an insult to his soul which goes far beyond the deeds of this life and intrudes into the justice of the Gods.

Even the barbarians who know nothing of spiritual life and worship only one God abusing those who worship differently, would not stoop so low as to deny the eternal rituals to anyone. Creon's royal decree prohibits anyone from weeping or lamenting Polynices death and worse still, no one may bury him.

Is this the meaning of the word "noble"? Is it justice to deny the higher laws?


I don't know. What can be done? Who can oppose any powerful system of justice, even when justice is unjust? What can we do?


This isn't simply about injustice. This is about absolute and raw power. Whoever disobeys this decree shall be publicly stoned! Noble Creon will crush whoever would show compassion for our fallen brother.


What can we do? We are not warriors. That's how the cookie crumbles.


Is that the way you see this? How quickly all is revealed. Are you not noble? Would you foul the very well from which you spring?


What can I do to untie the tapestry of fate?


Simply help me. We have a job to do.


Help you? With what? All deeds begin within the mind, what is welling up within yours?


Our fallen brother needs our hands.


You wish to violate the proclamation?!


He is our brother. Your brother. Even if we wish otherwise, we have a familial duty.


Are you a fool? Creon has decreed, under penalty of death that...


Who are you to call your sister a fool? He is our brother. The only foolishness is to defy the eternal laws of Spirit. Would you betray him?


Do not be rash, sister. Think about this, carefully. Think before you act.

Did not our father convict himself, then dishonored and abhorred, tear out his own eyes with his own fingers?

Then our mother, his mother, his wife...the combination of these two concepts rolled into one makes stomach knot. Our mother was thus so devastated that she raised herself on a coil of rope leaving this life behind.

Now our two brothers in one single deed of fratricide, slaughter each other.

Should we two perish as well. We are all that remain of our family. We have each other. Should we risk this?

Should we not dwell within the sacred wisdom of women and avoid such contests.

Why fight? Within the maypole of nature the male holds the weaker strand and thus contends with violence, but we are stronger, we know the value of love, we know the beauty of children even those that are not our own.

I beg the forgiveness of our ancestors, and I attain this forgiveness through survival. Why fight when there can be no victory? Let us simply obey, let go and let God. Moderation. Moderation is the answer in this situation. Excess is not the way of wisdom and shall reap only sorrow. Let us simply pray for his soul. Perhaps the old way is simply superstition.

Should we not let the dead bury the dead?


Let the dead bury the dead? What kind of nonsense are you prattling? Your brother's body lies unburied outside of the city walls. Is it nonsense that his soul may wander the earth forever? Are you so afraid that you would take this risk with your brother's soul?

I see. I see clearly. Your heart is ruled by fear so I won't try to persuade you. What's the use? Can honor be shared with the coward? If the deed is to be well done, I must do it. You are as you are, as ever, the trembling willow who moves with the breeze.

I have no fear! Better to die with dignity than to live in shame. They can bury me next to my brother. Will they not bury me next to my brother sometime in the future anyway.

This life, this person whom I am right now, this spirit who is your sister will soon dwell in the next dimension, the hall of spirits, I will honor the dead, for if it is true that my spirit will live in the dimension of the dead for the rest of time, then this is the wisest course of action.

You can live with dishonor. I will honor what the gods themselves honor.


I am not talking about dishonor, or even honor. I'm talking about survival. It is foolishness to fight the fight that cannot be won.


Then call me a fool, but I shall bury my brother.


Unhappy sister. I fear for you, am afraid to lose you.


Don't worry about me, I go to my fate. You go to yours.


If you must do this thing, keep it secret. I shall say nothing. This way you can get away with it.


Keep it secret! Bullshit! This is not a deed to do in darkness. This must be declared. Announced! Silence does not serve justice. Proclaim the truth and have no fear. That is the least you can do.


I think it is better for cooler heads to prevail. Think this over, do not be rash. A little time...


Time waits for no woman, and with a cool head I plan to execute this deed.


If you can get away with it, but wishing does not make it so...


Whatsoever can be conceived, can be achieved.


In a battle, it is well known that those who are deceived are bereaved.


Cease your negativity, the way forward is not the way back. This a clear path. Like a choice between white or black. You may feel that I am wrong but I choose the path of honor. Death before dishonor. I am unafraid.


I walk the way between, enfolded within the shades of gray. It is best to delay, to wait. Avoid absolutes...

(Exit Antigone)

I see you cannot be dissuaded from this folly. I believe the higher way is love, the better way is survival. I will always love you.

(Exit Ismene) New Thought News is news we can use

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