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Character/Theme Development

As you read, complete this chart to help you understand how certain characters and events are connected. As
characters act and react to situations, you will notice relationships or conflicts developing. Through these events,
themes also develop throughout the play. For most of the play, you will complete entries for major characters only:
Antigone, Ismene, Creon, and Haimon. However, Scene 5 and the Paen challenge you to explore different characters,
some of which are minor to the play as a whole, but integral to those scenes.

Scene of Characters Relationships or Conflicts What motivated the What could be a possible
Play character to react this way? developing theme?

Prologue, Antigone In an argument with Ismene Ismene feels that A possible developing
Scene 1, because she thinks there brother, Polyneices should not be theme could be the
Ode 1
Polyneices, should be buried, buried. argument between
following the laws of God. Antigone against Creon
and Ismene. Antigone
will argue that
Ismene In an argument with Antigone Antigone feel that Polyneices was right to
because the thinks their brother, Polyneices should be be buried while Creon
Polyneices, should not be buried, buried. will think the opposite
following the laws of man. and punish Antigone
for the burial of
Polyneices. There is
Creon Creon is speaking to the council of Creon is furious about the also the debate between
elders in Thebes about the recent fact that Polyneices has Antigone and Ismene
attack from Polyneices. He betrayed Thebes and is over what is right to
explains how Eteocles shall have a even more such that react to, the ways
proper burial, while Polyneices someone has buried him, things are, or the way
shall “lie on the plain, unburied; also betraying Thebes. things should be.
and the birds and the
scavenging dogs can do with him
whatever they like.” He is
informed by a sentry that someone
has buried Polyneices and he is
furious about this. Him and the
sentry then argue about this.
Scene of Characters Relationships or Conflicts What motivated the What could be a possible
Play character to react this way? developing theme?

Antigone Antigone is taking in after the Antigone was motivated A possible developing
Sentry finds her re-burying to respond this way theme could be that
Scene 2,
Polyneices. At first Creon does not because she thinks that Antigone and Ismne
Ode 2
believe that she has done this and the burying of Polyneices take full proud
is in shock, even after Antigone was following the responsibility for the
confidently says that she has. This “immortal unrecorded burial of Polyneices and
leads to Creon getting furious, laws of God.” When are put to death by
saying in Lines 420-421, “Go join Ismene says that she is Creon, which will upset
them, then; if you must have your also responsible, Antigone Creon’s son and
love, Find it in hell!” Ismene it disagrees because “(She) Antigone’s fiance,
then also arrested and she takes would not help (her).” Haimon. This will
equal responsibility for the crime. This motivates Antigone cause arguments
Antigone says that she is not guilty to react with anger that between Creon and
and they argue over this. Ismene should also be put Haimon, possibly
to death for crimes she stopping Antigone and
had not commit. Ismene’s sentencing.
Ismene Ismene decides that she too is Ismene was motivated by
“equally responsible” for the guilt and grief of
Polyneices burial and says “ I know “betraying” Polynices,
what you meant” and that she is where in Line 451 she
there “ to take my share of says “Grief teaches the
punishment.” in Lines 433-434. steadiest minds to waver,
She argues with Antigone and King.”
Creon about how she should also
be put to death, while Antigone
says she should not.

Creon When Antigone is brought in after Creon was motivated to

the Sentry has found her burying react this way after he
Polyneices, Creon at first is asked Antigone is she had
confused why she is there, denying “ heard my proclamation
that she could have done this, even touching this matter?”
after she admits. Once Creon gets and if she “dared defy the
through his head that Antigone has law.” with her responding
done this, he is furious, saying at by saying that “(she)
Lines 419-420, “Go join them, dared” in Lines 354-357.
then; if you must have your love, Creon becomes furious
Find it in hell!” Ismene is then with Antigone, and also
brought in and pleads that she is Ismene when she enters
also guilty. After much more and says that she is
argument, Creon orders that both equally responsible.
Antigone and Ismene shall be
locked up.
Scene of Characters Relationships or Conflicts What motivated the What could be a possible
Play character to react this way? developing theme?

Scene 3, Antigone Creon and Haimon argue over N/A A possible developing
Ode 3 what will happen to Antigone. At theme could be that the
first they agree what happened was argument over
wrong, but throughout the scene, it Antigone will cause
is revealed that Creon thinks she Creon and his son
must die, while Haimon thinks she Haimon to become
should not, causing the conflict. distant, which will
create separations and
Ismene N/A N/A more arguments later
in the story. The people
will most likely side
with Creon and Thebes,
Creon Creon asks Haimon if he is “ hating Creon thinks that possibly causing
(him), or have you come with Antigone’s burial of Haimon to also be
deference and with love” due to his Polyneices was killed of exiled.
sentence for Antigone. At first he is disgraceful. This causes
pleased that Haimon is obeying him more anger when his
him, but then after his speech son thinks that she should
Haimon says that Antigone should not be put to death for
not be put to death causing them this, making the
to argue over this. argument tenser.
Haimon At first, Haimon has complete Haimon is engaged to
obedience to Creon. After Creon’s Antigone which would
speech, he begins to contradict cause him to pity her and
him, saying he should “not believe want her to not be put to
that (he) alone can be right.” A death. This motivates him
conflict then occurs between to stand against his father
Haimon and his father. Haimon for Antigone.
says “no woman has ever, so
unreasonably, died so shameful a
death for a generous act,”
referencing to Antigone.
Scene of Characters Relationships or Conflicts What motivated the What could be a possible
Play character to react this way? developing theme?

Scene 4, Antigone Antigone enters, brought by She believes that the The argument of
Ode 4 guards, saying she should be burial of Polyneices was Ismene, Antigone, and
pitied. She says in line 723 that she the right thing to do, and Haimon against Creon
has “not sinned before God.” She following the laws of the could be a developing
argues with Creon that she should gods. This would motivate theme because Ismene
not be put to death, for she has Antigone to argue against and Haimon defend
done no crime, but then accepts being punished for her Antigone, saying she
her fate, saying to the guards in acts. should stay alive, while
line 737, “Come: let us wait no Creon thinks she
longer.” should be put to death.
This will cause further
Creon Creon believes that Antigone Creon believes that since argument in the story.
should be put to death for the fact Polyneices attacked the
that she buried Polyneices. She city, he should not be
asks for pity, saying she has done buried, and he made his
no crime, but Creon ignores her belief law. Antigone went
cries, saying to the servants in line against this law so he is
710, “Take her, go!” motivated to punish her.
Scene of Characters Relationships or Conflicts What motivated the What could be a possible
Play character to react this way? developing theme?
Scene 5 Creon Creon has brought Teiresias to Creon thinks that the A possible developing
proclaim a prophecy. He says that gods would be mad at theme could be all of
Creon’s choice regarding Antigone Antigone for the burial of the character of the
was wrong, which angers Creon. Polyneices making him play
Creon argues with Teiresias and not believe the prophet
calls him a false prophet, saying in when he says that what he
lines 824 and 832 that he “sells his did was wrong,
wisdom” and that this “ generation motivating him to become
of prophets has always loved gold,” angry and argue.
inferring that he has been bribed.
Teiresias Teiresias enters, and reveals to be Teiresias is an ancient
a prophet, saying “I have much to prophet and he has seen a
tell you: listen to the prophet, prophecy that there will
Creon” in line 755. Teiresias claims be a curse in response to
a prophecy, telling Creon that by Creon’s actions. When
punishing Antigone this way, Creon denies this, it
“brought This new calamity upon” angers him, motivating
them. He argues with Creon when him to respond like this.
he denies his prophecy and ends
up storming out.
Scene of Characters Relationships or Conflicts What motivated the What could be a possible
Play character to react this way? developing theme?

Paen Creon Creon enters in grief carrying Creon realizes that if he A developing theme
Haimon’s body, saying in line 994 had allowed the burial of could be how through
that “This truth is hard to bear.” Polyneices that the grief not allowing the burial
He is then also informed that his wouldn’t be brought onto of Polyneices, a series
wife, Euridice, has killed herself in his family. of unpredicted events
response. He thinks that because has taken place to make
he did not allow the burial of Creon regret his
Polyneices, he has “killed (his) son decision.
and (his) wife.” (Line 1035).
Messenger The messenger informs of the The messenger’s job is
death of Haimon by his own hand. just to deliver the
He explains this to the Queen and messages, and he must do
Creon’s wife, Euridice, and she is so must do so with regard
in despair. Later, the messenger for the listeners emotions,
meets with Creon and they speak and he does so.
of Haimon’s death and the
messenger, in line 1002, informs
Creon “The Queen is dead,” and
has too killed herself.

Think about the title of the unit, ​Taking a Stand.​ Read back over your notes on this chart. If you
could choose the most critical theme that Sophocles was trying to develop throughout this tragic
play, what would it be? Which characters helped to develop that theme the most?