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Plot Summary of Antigone (Sophocles) - Section II

Article Index
Plot Summary of Antigone (Sophocles)
Plot Summary of Antigone Part II
Plot Summary of Antigone Part III
Plot Summary of Antigone Part IV
Literary Analysis of Antigone
Academic Sources for Further Study

Plot Summary of Antigone by Sophocles : Scene 1

Antigone enters her house, at a very early hour in the morning. The Nurse questions her and tries to figure out what Antigone has been up to. Antigone’s mind is far off, not really affected by the Nurse’s berating. The Nurse suspects that Antigone has a secret lover, and Antigone just decides to go with that story. The Nurse is shocked, as this is very out of character for Antigone. The Nurse had worried that she would be unable to marry, but now she had the opposite problem.  “All the time you were just like your sister- worse, you little hypocrite!” (83-84).

This track of argument becomes too much for Antigone and she dismisses the Nurse. Ismene enters, and Antigone’s true whereabouts the night before are revealed. She and Ismene had snuck out to conspire to bury Polynices. Ismene is still afraid that they would be caught and executed, but Antigone has accepted this as her fate, and does not appear bothered by it. Ismene exits, Haemon enters. Antigone looks to be comforted by Haemon for the last time. She then tells him she cannot marry him, and forbids him to ask why. She makes him leave, and Ismene enters again, still trying to talk Antigone out of burying Polynices. Ismene shows her fear for Antigone, telling her, “You like to hurl defiance at the whole world, but you’re only one small person” (97).

Plot Summary of Antigone by Sophocles : Scene 2

Creon and his Page enters, and then a guard, Jonas. Jonas is visibly frightened of bearing bad news to the king, although it is obvious that Creon is trying to get the news out of him. Finally, he confesses that someone had slipped in under their watch and covered Polynices’s body, presumably with a child’s toy shovel they found near the body. Creon is outraged. He fears that there is a rebellion afoot against his rule. He rants about “The leaders of the plebs, reeking of garlic, suddenly in alliance with the princess… The priests, trying to fish something for themselves out of these murky waters…” (100). As scenarios of rebellion swirl around in Creon’s stream of consciousness, Jonas grows more and more frightened for his own life. They set off to try and control the situation.

Plot Summary of Antigone by Sophocles : Choral Episode

The Chorus enters. They, like Antigone, have a fatalistic view of the story. But they break the fourth wall and address the audience, talking about the play in third person. They talk about the beautiful simplicity of tragedy, how it is like clockwork. Once it has been set into motion, there is no altering its path. They say that with drama, there is hope, which they characterize as cruel, and guilt laid on the characters because they have freedom of choice. But in tragedy, “everybody’s on a par. All innocent! It doesn’t matter if one person kills and the other is killed- it’s just a matter of casting” (102).