rites, while Polynices
, because of his betrayal in bringing war to his
It's not merely due to her devotion to Polynices
that she buries him under a mound of earth, but also her bonding with the element Earth.
The story of Antigone, a set text at GCSE and A level, centres around the children of Oedipus - Antigone, her sister Ismene and brothers Polynices
He returns to prominence in the tragedy only when Teiresias alludes to his potential death (1064-8), which prompts Creon to finally change his mind (1095-7) and rush off to bury Polynices
and free Antigone (1108-14).
Book One is designed to disprove the position of Polynices
in Euripides' The Phoenician Women, that exile is an unhappy state in which to live.
In her drastic claim to tend the exposed dead body of her brother Polynices
, who has been declared a traitor and thus denied the honour of a proper burial, Antigone enters into an irresolvable and violent conflict with the head of the state--the tyrant of Thebes--and her maternal uncle, Creon.
In the drama class, the two patients play Oedipus' sons Eteocles and Polynices
, who, as the myth goes, end up killing each other.
Indeed, pseudo-Fulgentius (Clogan, 1997: 347-350; Kleinhenz 1988: 32) reads characters of the Thebaid as allegorically representing licentiousness (Oedipus), greed and lust (Eteocles and Polynices
), vain worldly knowledge of the seven liberal arts (the Seven Against Thebes), and pride (Creon).
(1) The most evident example is the association of Polynices
' name (meaning 'much strife') with the hero's disposition and choices; Polynices
' eagerness to pursue the conflict with his brother by attacking and ruining his homeland is in both plays considered a manifestation of his personal name's aptness.
For example: Aeschylus' Persians tells of the homecoming of Darius after his defeat by the Athenian led forces at Salamis (861-862); Suppliants relates the return of the daughters of Danaus, a descendent of Jo, to their ancestral land of Argos threatening a war between Egypt and Greece (15-16); Agamemnon depicts the effects of the Trojan War on Argos and the disastrous nostos of Agamemnon himself (810-854); in Seven Against Thebes, Polynices
returns home at the head of an invading army intent on sacking his city and seizing power from his brother (39-68).
The decree that Polynices
must not be buried is Creon's first official declaration in office and, under the circumstances, it would be understood if he claims it is imperative to let members of the royal household and the entire Theban populace realize that his orders are not to be trampled upon.