Critics have traditionally divided over the question of whether Antigone or Creon is the protagonist in the play, Antigone, by Sophocles. The answer lies in ones interpretation of the play. Is it a play about a woman doomed by the sins of her father,
r is it a play about a king who holds himself more powerful than the gods?
Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus. Oedipus, once the king of Thebes, unwittingly killed his father and married his mother. Four children, Polyneices, Etocles, Antigone, and Ismene were the products of that union. When Oedipus learns the true ident
y of Iocaste, his wife and mother, he blinds himself and leaves Thebes. His two sons, Polyneices and Etocles, wage war over the control of Thebes, and kill each other in doing so.
When the play opens, Antigone is speaking with her sister, Ismene, about Creon's (present king of Thebes) decree that Polyneices be denied a burial.
Polyneices' body will be put into the fields, unburied, as punishment for his attack on Thebes. Antig
e decides she must bury the body.
If Antigone is the protagonist of this play, then the action is a further saga in the chapter of Oedipus. Oedipus and his family are doomed for his sin against the gods. Sophocles describes this in Ode II:
Where once the anger of heaven has struck, that house has shaken
For ever: damnation rises behind each child
Like a wave cresting out of the black northeast,
When the long darkness under sea roars up
And bursts drumming death upon the whindwhipped sand (336).
Creon becomes a tool of the gods used to further the doom of the family of Oedipus.
Antigone knows that she is cursed. In the prologue, Antigone says, ' . . . You...