Antigone, Lines 1–416
Following the deaths of Antigone’s brothers Polynices and Eteocles, her uncle, Creon, decrees that whoever tries to bury or mourn Polynices must be put to death. Antigone resolves to bury Polynices anyway. After Creon assures the citizens that Eteocles will receive a hero’s burial, a sentry enters, informing Creon that someone has buried Polynices.
Antigone, Lines 417–700
When confronted by Creon, Antigone admits that she knew the edict against burying Polynices but argues that in breaking it she defied neither the gods nor justice, only the decree of an unjust man. Ismene, Antigone’s sister, appeals to Creon’s love for his son, Haemon, who is betrothed to Antigone, but Creon stands firm in sending both sisters to their deaths.
Antigone, Lines 701–1090
Haemon meets with Creon, suggesting that the people in Thebes do not believe that Antigone deserves such punishment for her noble-seeming deed. Creon is offended and concedes that he will not kill Ismene, but Antigone will be enclosed alive in a tomb. Antigone cries out against the misfortunes of her family.
Antigone, Lines 1091–1470
Tiresias confronts Creon with a prophecy that Antigone’s burial will bring curses down on Thebes. Eurydice, Creon’s wife, overhears a messenger announce that Haemon has killed himself upon finding Antigone’s hung body. Eurydice commits suicide after learning of Haemon’s death. A miserable Creon prays for his own end.
Oedipus the King, Lines 1–337
Oedipus, Creon’s brother, learns from Creon that the god Apollo has said that the murderer of Laius must be driven out of Thebes for the plague to end. Oedipus is vehement in his promise of dire punishment for Laius’s murderer, even if the murderer turns out to be someone close to Oedipus himself.
Oedipus the King, Lines 338–706
Tiresias reveals that Oedipus himself is Laius’s murderer, and an outraged Oedipus concocts a story that Creon and Tiresias are conspiring to overthrow him. Tiresias says that the murderer of Laius will turn out to be both brother and father to his children, and both son and husband to his mother. Oedipus says that he wants Creon murdered.
Oedipus the King, Lines 707–1007
Jocasta, Oedipus’s wife, tries to convince him that prophets are false, explaining how the oracle told Laius that he would be murdered by his son, while actually his son was cast out of Thebes as a baby and Laius was murdered by a band of thieves. Oedipus says that the oracle once told him he would murder his father and sleep with his mother, prompting Oedipus to leave his home for Thebes, and on the road he killed a group of travelers in self-defense, at the very place where Laius was killed.
Oedipus the King, Lines 1008–1310
Oedipus rejoices when he hears news that his father is dead from natural causes, affirming for Oedipus that the prophecy that Oedipus will murder his father is false. The messenger tells Oedipus that his father and his wife are not really Oedipus’s natural parents. Oedipus learns that he was in fact Laius’s child whom Jocasta gave away.
Oedipus the King, Lines 1311–1684
Jocasta commits suicide, and when Oedipus finds her, he stabs himself in the eyes. Creon agrees to exile Oedipus from the city, but not before allowing Oedipus to see his daughters one last time. Antigone and Ismene meet with Oedipus, who says that he has tarnished their reputation in society, and when Oedipus reaches out to Creon, Creon rejects him, asserting that Oedipus’s power has ended.
Oedipus at Colonus, Lines 1–576
Years after being exiled, Oedipus and Antigone arrive at a grove where they are approached by a citizen of Colonus, who, proclaiming the land to be forbidden to mortals, asks them to leave. Oedipus recalls a portion of Apollo’s prophesy that proclaimed that Oedipus would die on this ground, and Oedipus argues that the city may benefit greatly if it does not drive him away. Joined by Ismene, Oedipus learns that his sons, Eteocles and Polynices, are at war with one another.
Oedipus at Colonus, Lines 577–1192
Theseus agrees to bury Oedipus in Colonus. When Creon confronts Oedipus, he tries to send Creon away, but Creon refuses to relent, and orders his guards to seize Antigone and Ismene. Just as he is about to grab Oedipus, Theseus intervenes, cursing Creon who has shamed Thebes with his bullying, and orders his men to keep watch over Creon as he goes to find Oedipus’s daughters.
Oedipus at Colonus, Lines 1192–1645
Theseus returns with Antigone and Ismene and informs Oedipus that Polynices is here. When Polynices expresses his regret at allowing Oedipus to be exiled, Oedipus says that he placed a curse on Eteocles and Polynices so that they will each die by the other’s hand. Polynices asks his sisters for a proper burial if he is killed.
Oedipus at Colonus, Lines 1646–2001
When Oedipus declares that his time of death has come, he tells Theseus that he will lead him to the place where he will die, warning that only the king shall ever know the location. Antigone and Ismene beg to see their father’s tomb, but the king insists that Oedipus has forbidden it, and Theseus grants the sisters’ request to be sent back to Thebes.