Antigone Analysis Questions

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How does Sophocles establish Antigone and Ismene as foils?

Antigone and Ismene are very much opposites. When Antigone hears that Polyneices will not have a proper burial like her other brother she is angry and wishes to flout Creon's request. When she tells Ismene of her plans, she responds saying, "What! Bury him and flout the interdict?... What! Challenge Creon to his face?." From this comment the reader realizes that Ismene is a foil of Antigone. She lacks the courage and bravery to stand up for her family. Even though she loves her brother she is not willing to go against her uncles order's. This shows that she is fearful and is not willing to take risks.

How is Antigone's relationship with Ismene similar to and/or different from their brothers' (Eteocles and Polyneices) relationship? (Use evidence from throughout the Prologue, including the choral ode.)

Although Antigone and Ismene differ from their personalities, it can be inferred that they do not fight in the same way their two brothers did.

Eteocles and Polyneices were forced to share the crown, however they did not share this rule peacefully. Polyneices leaves Thebes and plans an attack on his own city. The brothers end up killing each other in battle. In the chorus the brothers are described as enemies on page 197 "Who sharing parents shared their fall, Brother killing brother." Although Antigone and Ismene are not archenemies they do argue in the Prologue about the burial of their brothers. Antigone wishes to defy the law and bury her brother Polyneices properly, however Ismene is unwilling to act upon these convictions. The last line of dialogue between the two women shows that although Ismene does not support Antigone's actions she still cares for her, "Go then, if you must toward you end: Fool,