ANTIGONE
O head, Ismene, of our common womb,
Know you some curse of our Oedipus Zeus
Does not yet bring to end o’er us still living?
For there is nothing not yet full of pain,
Nor without ruin, nor dishonored, nor shamed.
I have not seen an evil that does not
Belong to us two, you and I. Now
What do they say in the city public
About the law the General has set down?
Hark, do you know or care? Or does it ‘scape you
When hateful evils march ‘gainst those you love?

ISMENE
To me no word nor rumor, cruel nor kind
Regarding friends, Antigone, has come. Since
Our dual and dueling brothers died
In just one day by doubled hands in death.
And since the Argive army fell away
This night just past, I’ve seen nothing beyond,
No more of my prosperity or ruin.

ANTIGONE
I’ve seen it well, and on account of this
I’ve sent for you outside the outmost gate,
So you alone might hear this

ISMENE
What is it?
Clearly you ponder some dark, purple word.

ANTIGONE
Has not for death rights of our brothers both
Creon dishonored one and praised the other?
Eteocles they say with Justice and
The righteous use of custom has been hidden
Beneath the Earth with honor and the dead,
While Polyneices’ corpse which died in mis’ry
They say has been proclaimed to citizens
To stay uncovered, out of death rights,
Nor wailed over, by anyone at all,
But suffer unlamented, unburied,
A sweet treat for the birds to find and feast on.
Things such as this they say, the good Creon
To you and me—e’en me—and has proclaimed,
And hither comes so that these things, to those
Who do not know, will be proclaimed, made clear,
The deed, not weighed against nothing, but who
So ever does these things will be set forth
Before the city to be murdered by stone.
Things are this way, and swiftly will you light
Upon yourself as either well born or
Corrupt though raised from good.

ISMENE
O wretched one!
If this is so, how might I add further
Either by loosening or tightening?

ANTIGONE
Consider, then if you will work with me
By taking part in labour and in work.

ISMENE
What kind of hazard is that? Where’s your mind now?

ANTIGONE
Together will you lend your hand to raise
The fallen corpse?

ISMENE
You think to honor him?
Though surely forbidden in all the city?

ANTIGONE
Surely he’s mine, and yours—though you deny
Your brother. I will not be conquered here.

ISMENE
O you, indefatigable, Creon
Has spoke against this.

ANTIGONE
But it’s not with him
To shut me out from that which is my own.

ISMENE
O woe is me! Remember, sister, how
The hated, inglorious father of us
Was decimated. And for his error
Did double strike his eyes with his own hand.
Thereafter, wife and mother, double named,
With twisted cords did violate dear life.
And third, the brothers, two in one short day
In mutual murder, miserably their fate
Did seal together with each others hand.
And now we two left alone alive
Consider how detestably destroyed
We will be if we violate, with custom
The laws made by the absolute sovereign
Oe e’en to overstep any power.
But it behooves us to remember this,
That we as women by nature cannot
‘Gainst men put up a fight, it’s not in us
And thus by this we’re ruled by strength
And must obey things more painful than this
And I in truth do beg those ‘neath the earth
To hold pardon as I’m constrained in this
For I’m suaded by those who stand fulfilled
And acting ‘gainst them is nonsense to none.

ANTIGONE
Then neither shall I urge you further on,
Not even if you were willing to act
With me, such things would not be sweet to do.
But know what sort of person that you are
For I myself will honor him in death
And dying doing so will be gorgeous.
Beloved and loving I will lie open,
Playing a pious villain, since more time
Must I spend standing with those down below
Than must be spent with those above the ground.
I’ll lie open forever in that place
But if to you it seems best, hold the honored
Things of the Gods in dishonor and shame.

ISMENE
I will not make myself dishonored for
I can;t, by nature act ‘gainst the city.

ANTIGONE
You may push these things forth but I’ll proceed
With pushing forth the earth over our dear’st brother.

ISMENE
Alas, oh wretched , how I fear for you!

ANTIGONE
Don’t fear for me, set straight your deadly dest’ny.

ISMENE
But do not speak before you do this deed
In secret hide this thing, and so will I

ANTIGONE
Oh woe is me! You must speak out, for many
Will find you far more hateful if you speak not
To this.

ISMENE
Your hot heart beats for frozen things.

ANTIGONE
For I know I please those I’m fated to most

ISMENE
And even if you could at any rate
However without means now is your love.
ANTIGONE
Then whenever I am run out of strength
Entirely I will have ceased myself

ISMENE
But firstly it is not suited to hunt
For things without the means—

ANTIGONE
If you will say
These things you will be hated by me, more so
You’ll justly lie forever loathed by the dead.
But ill-counseled allow me to suffer
These terrible things, for no suffering
Of mine will make me die unhonorably

ISMENE
But if to you it seems the best, you must go.
Still know this that it’s thoughtless to do so,
But still your friends have every right to love you.

[Antigone exits,
Ismene re-enters the Palace.]

CHORUS
O many are the terrible wonders
But nothing is more great than those of man.
And this does find its way and make its place
Across the stoney grey and sultry sea
With wildly storming swelling southern winds
Surrounded by the depths of the dark waves
He pushed further, under, and beyond.
The highest of the Gods, un-waning Earth,
Indefatigable, is worn away
As plows move to and fro as year by year
The horses bastards wear and churn the land.
And a light minded race of birds is caught
In nets, just as the savage swarms of beasts
And creatures of the sea, he leads them all.
With serpentine spun coils does brilliant man
Subdue with his machine the field dwelling,
And mountain roaming beasts, and tightly grips
The shaggy horse’s mane, and yokes and breaks
The back of an unwearied mountain bull.

And speech with airy thought and city customs
And impulses he has now taught himself and
To flee the savage frozen clear cold air.
And the wild stormy bolts, all contriving
Held back in nothing, towards destiny
He starts himself. He only stops for death.
Against all other maladies he’s found
A way to slither through and keep moving.

Possessing subtle and resourceful skill
Beyond expectation he comes around
And traces back from evil now to good.
And when he honors the laws of the land,
And justice of the gods, to which he’s bounded
By oath, his city dwells in great prosperity,
But banned from this city is he, who’s rash
And coupled with disgrace. Never
May I share land or home with man as he.
And never may he think my thoughts, this man.

[Enter Antigone]

Is this a dark warning now sent by God?
But how can I deny this having seen
This daughter here to be Antigone
O you disastrous and of disaster
Brought of your father Oedipus. What’s this?
Do you not fail to follow royal rules
And due to utter senselessness will fall.


ὦ κοινὸν αὐτάδελφον Ἰσμήνης κάρα,
ἆρ᾽ οἶσθ᾽ ὅ τι Ζεὺς τῶν ἀπ᾽ Οἰδίπου κακῶν
ὁποῖον οὐχὶ νῷν ἔτι ζώσαιν τελεῖ;
οὐδὲν γὰρ οὔτ᾽ ἀλγεινὸν οὔτ᾽ ἄτης ἄτερ
5οὔτ᾽ αἰσχρὸν οὔτ᾽ ἄτιμόν ἐσθ᾽, ὁποῖον οὐ
τῶν σῶν τε κἀμῶν οὐκ ὄπωπ᾽ ἐγὼ κακῶν.
καὶ νῦν τί τοῦτ᾽ αὖ φασι πανδήμῳ πόλει
κήρυγμα θεῖναι τὸν στρατηγὸν ἀρτίως;
ἔχεις τι κεἰσήκουσας; ἤ σε λανθάνει
πρὸς τοὺς φίλους στείχοντα τῶν ἐχθρῶν κακά;
ἐμοὶ μὲν οὐδεὶς μῦθος, Ἀντιγόνη φίλων
οὔθ᾽ ἡδὺς οὔτ᾽ ἀλγεινὸς ἵκετ᾽ ἐξ ὅτου
δυοῖν ἀδελφοῖν ἐστερήθημεν δύο,
μιᾷ θανόντοιν ἡμέρᾳ διπλῇ χερί:
ἐπεὶ δὲ φροῦδός ἐστιν Ἀργείων στρατὸς
ἐν νυκτὶ τῇ νῦν, οὐδὲν οἶδ᾽ ὑπέρτερον,
οὔτ᾽ εὐτυχοῦσα μᾶλλον οὔτ᾽ ἀτωμένη.
ᾔδη καλῶς, καί σ᾽ ἐκτὸς αὐλείων πυλῶν
τοῦδ᾽ οὕνεκ᾽ ἐξέπεμπον, ὡς μόνη κλύοις.
τί δ᾽ ἔστι; δηλοῖς γάρ τι καλχαίνουσ᾽ ἔπος.
οὐ γὰρ τάφου νῷν τὼ κασιγνήτω Κρέων
τὸν μὲν προτίσας, τὸν δ᾽ ἀτιμάσας ἔχει;
Ἐτεοκλέα μέν, ὡς λέγουσι, σὺν δίκης
χρήσει δικαίᾳ καὶ νόμου κατὰ χθονὸς
ἔκρυψε τοῖς ἔνερθεν ἔντιμον νεκροῖς:
τὸν δ᾽ ἀθλίως θανόντα Πολυνείκους νέκυν
ἀστοῖσί φασιν ἐκκεκηρῦχθαι τὸ μὴ
τάφῳ καλύψαι μηδὲ κωκῦσαί τινα,
ἐᾶν δ᾽ ἄκλαυτον, ἄταφον, οἰωνοῖς γλυκὺν
θησαυρὸν εἰσορῶσι πρὸς χάριν βορᾶς.
τοιαῦτά φασι τὸν ἀγαθὸν Κρέοντα σοὶ
κἀμοί, λέγω γὰρ κἀμέ, κηρύξαντ᾽ ἔχειν,
καὶ δεῦρο νεῖσθαι ταῦτα τοῖσι μὴ εἰδόσιν
σαφῆ προκηρύξοντα, καὶ τὸ πρᾶγμ᾽ ἄγειν
οὐχ ὡς παρ᾽ οὐδέν, ἀλλ᾽ ὃς ἂν τούτων τι δρᾷ,
φόνον προκεῖσθαι δημόλευστον ἐν πόλει.
οὕτως ἔχει σοι ταῦτα, καὶ δείξεις τάχα
εἴτ᾽ εὐγενὴς πέφυκας εἴτ᾽ ἐσθλῶν κακή.
τί δ᾽, ὦ ταλαῖφρον, εἰ τάδ᾽ ἐν τούτοις, ἐγὼ
λύουσ᾽ ἂν ἢ ‘φάπτουσα προσθείμην πλέον;

εἰ ξυμπονήσεις καὶ ξυνεργάσει σκόπει

ποῖόν τι κινδύνευμα; ποῦ γνώμης ποτ᾽ εἰ;
εἰ τὸν νεκρὸν ξὺν τῇδε κουφιεῖς χερί.

ἢ γὰρ νοεῖς θάπτειν σφ᾽, ἀπόρρητον πόλει;

τὸν γοῦν ἐμὸν καὶ τὸν σόν ἢν σὺ μὴ θέλῃς
ἀδελφόν: οὐ γὰρ δὴ προδοῦσ᾽ ἁλώσομαι.
ὦ σχετλία, Κρέοντος ἀντειρηκότος;

ἀλλ᾽ οὐδὲν αὐτῷ τῶν ἐμῶν μ᾽ εἴργειν μέτα.

οἴμοι. φρόνησον, ὦ κασιγνήτη, πατὴρ
ὡς νῷν ἀπεχθὴς δυσκλεής τ᾽ ἀπώλετο,
πρὸς αὐτοφώρων ἀμπλακημάτων διπλᾶς
ὄψεις ἀράξας αὐτὸς αὐτουργῷ χερί.
ἔπειτα μήτηρ καὶ γυνή, διπλοῦν ἔπος,
πλεκταῖσιν ἀρτάναισι λωβᾶται βίον:
τρίτον δ᾽ ἀδελφὼ δύο μίαν καθ᾽ ἡμέραν
αὐτοκτονοῦντε τὼ ταλαιπώρω μόρον
κοινὸν κατειργάσαντ᾽ ἐπαλλήλοιν χεροῖν.
νῦν δ᾽ αὖ μόνα δὴ νὼ λελειμμένα σκόπει
ὅσῳ κάκιστ᾽ ὀλούμεθ᾽, εἰ νόμου βίᾳ
ψῆφον τυράννων ἢ κράτη παρέξιμεν.
ἀλλ᾽ ἐννοεῖν χρὴ τοῦτο μὲν γυναῖχ᾽ ὅτι
ἔφυμεν, ὡς πρὸς ἄνδρας οὐ μαχουμένα.
ἔπειτα δ᾽ οὕνεκ᾽ ἀρχόμεσθ᾽ ἐκ κρεισσόνων,
καὶ ταῦτ᾽ ἀκούειν κἄτι τῶνδ᾽ ἀλγίονα.
65ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν αἰτοῦσα τοὺς ὑπὸ χθονὸς
ξύγγνοιαν ἴσχειν, ὡς βιάζομαι τάδε,
τοῖς ἐν τέλει βεβῶσι πείσομαι: τὸ γὰρ
περισσὰ πράσσειν οὐκ ἔχει νοῦν οὐδένα.

οὔτ᾽ ἂν κελεύσαιμ᾽ οὔτ᾽ ἄν, εἰ θέλοις ἔτι
πράσσειν, ἐμοῦ γ᾽ ἂν ἡδέως δρῴης μέτα.
ἀλλ᾽ ἴσθ᾽ ὁποῖά σοι δοκεῖ, κεῖνον δ᾽ ἐγὼ
θάψω: καλόν μοι τοῦτο ποιούσῃ θανεῖν.
φίλη μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ κείσομαι, φίλου μέτα,
ὅσια πανουργήσασ᾽. ἐπεὶ πλείων χρόνος
ὃν δεῖ μ᾽ ἀρέσκειν τοῖς κάτω τῶν ἐνθάδε.
ἐκεῖ γὰρ αἰεὶ κείσομαι: σοὶ δ᾽, εἰ δοκεῖ,
τὰ τῶν θεῶν ἔντιμ᾽ ἀτιμάσασ᾽ ἔχε.

ἐγὼ μὲν οὐκ ἄτιμα ποιοῦμαι, τὸ δὲ
βίᾳ πολιτῶν δρᾶν ἔφυν ἀμήχανος.
σὺ μὲν τάδ᾽ ἂν προὔχοι᾽: ἐγὼ δὲ δὴ τάφον
χώσουσ᾽ ἀδελφῷ φιλτάτῳ πορεύσομαι.
οἴμοι ταλαίνης, ὡς ὑπερδέδοικά σου.
μὴ ‘μοῦ προτάρβει: τὸν σὸν ἐξόρθου πότμον.
ἀλλ᾽ οὖν προμηνύσῃς γε τοῦτο μηδενὶ
τοὔργον, κρυφῇ δὲ κεῦθε, σὺν δ᾽ αὔτως ἐγώ.
οἴμοι, καταύδα: πολλὸν ἐχθίων ἔσει
σιγῶσ᾽, ἐὰν μὴ πᾶσι κηρύξῃς τάδε.

θερμὴν ἐπὶ ψυχροῖσι καρδίαν ἔχεις.
ἀλλ᾽ οἶδ᾽ ἀρέσκουσ᾽ οἷς μάλισθ᾽ ἁδεῖν με χρή.
εἰ καὶ δυνήσει γ᾽: ἀλλ᾽ ἀμηχάνων ἐρᾷς.

οὐκοῦν, ὅταν δὴ μὴ σθένω, πεπαύσομαι.

ἀρχὴν δὲ θηρᾶν οὐ πρέπει τἀμήχανα.

εἰ ταῦτα λέξεις, ἐχθαρεῖ μὲν ἐξ ἐμοῦ,
ἐχθρὰ δὲ τῷ θανόντι προσκείσει δίκῃ.
95ἀλλ᾽ ἔα με καὶ τὴν ἐξ ἐμοῦ δυσβουλίαν
παθεῖν τὸ δεινὸν τοῦτο: πείσομαι γὰρ οὐ
τοσοῦτον οὐδὲν ὥστε μὴ οὐ καλῶς θανεῖν.

ἀλλ᾽ εἰ δοκεῖ σοι, στεῖχε: τοῦτο δ᾽ ἴσθ᾽ ὅτι
ἄνους μὲν ἔρχει, τοῖς φίλοις δ᾽ ὀρθῶς φίλη.
πολλὰ τὰ δεινὰ κοὐδὲν ἀνθρώπου δεινότερον πέλει.
τοῦτο καὶ πολιοῦ πέραν πόντου χειμερίῳ νότῳ
χωρεῖ, περιβρυχίοισιν
περῶν ὑπ᾽ οἴδμασιν.
θεῶν τε τὰν ὑπερτάταν, Γᾶν
ἄφθιτον, ἀκαμάταν, ἀποτρύεται
ἰλλομένων ἀρότρων ἔτος εἰς ἔτος
ἱππείῳ γένει πολεύων.
κουφονόων τε φῦλον ὀρνίθων ἀμφιβαλὼν ἄγει
καὶ θηρῶν ἀγρίων ἔθνη πόντου τ᾽ εἰναλίαν φύσιν
σπείραισι δικτυοκλώστοις,
περιφραδὴς ἀνήρ:
κρατεῖ δὲ μηχαναῖς ἀγραύλου
θηρὸς ὀρεσσιβάτα, λασιαύχενά θ᾽
ἵππον ὀχμάζεται ἀμφὶ λόφον ζυγῶν
οὔρειόν τ᾽ ἀκμῆτα ταῦρον.
καὶ φθέγμα καὶ ἀνεμόεν φρόνημα καὶ ἀστυνόμους
ὀργὰς ἐδιδάξατο καὶ δυσαύλων
πάγων ὑπαίθρεια καὶ δύσομβρα φεύγειν βέλη
παντοπόρος: ἄπορος ἐπ᾽ οὐδὲν ἔρχεται
τὸ μέλλον: Ἅιδα μόνον φεῦξιν οὐκ ἐπάξεται:
νόσων δ᾽ ἀμηχάνων φυγὰς ξυμπέφρασται.
σοφόν τι τὸ μηχανόεν τέχνας ὑπὲρ ἐλπίδ᾽ ἔχων
τοτὲ μὲν κακόν, ἄλλοτ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἐσθλὸν ἕρπει,
νόμους γεραίρων χθονὸς θεῶν τ᾽ ἔνορκον δίκαν,
ὑψίπολις: ἄπολις ὅτῳ τὸ μὴ καλὸν
ξύνεστι τόλμας χάριν. μήτ᾽ ἐμοὶ παρέστιος
γένοιτο μήτ᾽ ἴσον φρονῶν ὃς τάδ᾽ ἔρδει.