My own flesh and blood—dear sister, dear Ismene, how many griefs our father Oedipus handed down! Do you know one, I ask you, one grief that Zeus will not perfect for the two of us while we still live and breathe? There’s nothing, no pain—our lives are pain—no private shame, no public disgrace, nothing I haven’t seen in your grief and mine. (
Antigone’s first words in
In her first speech, Antigone seems a dangerous woman, well on her way to going over the edge. She knows she has nothing to lose, telling Ismene, “Do you know one, I ask you, one grief / that Zeus will not perfect for the two of us / while we still live and breathe?” Before we even have time to imagine what the next grief might be, Antigone reveals it: Creon will not allow her brother Polynices to be buried. Ismene, on the other hand, like the audience, is one step behind. From the outset, Antigone is the only one who sees what is really going on, the only one willing to speak up and point out the truth.