In Greek legend, the daughter born of the incestuous relationship between Oedipus and his mother, Jocasta. After Oedipus had blinded himself in self-punishment, Antigone and her sister Ismene served as his guides, following him into exile. When he died, Antigone returned to Thebes, where her brothers Eteocles and Polyneices were at war. Both were killed, and Creon, the new king, declared that because Polyneices was a traitor, his corpse should remain unburied. Unwilling to let the body be defiled, Antigone buried him; when Creon condemned her to death, she hanged herself. Her story was dramatized by Sophocles and Euripides (in Euripides' version she escapes and joins her beloved, Haemon).
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Antigone (Greek Ἀντιγόνη) is the name of two different women in Greek mythology. The name may be taken to mean "unbending", coming from "anti-" (against, opposed to) and "-gon / -gony" (corner, bend, angle; ex: polygon), but has also been suggested to mean "opposed to motherhood" or "in place of a mother" based from the root gone, "that which generates" (related: gonos, "-gony"; seed, semen).
Antigone is the daughter of the accidentally incestuous marriage between King Oedipus of Thebes and his mother Jocasta (thus, Antigone is also her father Oedipus's half-sister and, through her father, her mother Jocasta's granddaughter). She is the subject of a popular story in which she attempts to secure a respectable burial for her brother Polyneices, even though he was a traitor to Thebes.
In the oldest version of the story, the funeral of Polyneices takes place during Oedipus's reign in Thebes. However, in the best-known versions, Sophocles's tragedies Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone, it occurs in the years after Oedipus's banishment and death, and Antigone has to struggle against Creon. Sophocles' Antigone ends in disaster, and Creon's son Haemon (or Haimon), who loved Antigone, kills himself. (Also see Oedipus for a variant of this story.) Queen Eurydice, wife of King Creon, also kills herself at the end of the story due to seeing such actions allowed by her husband. She had been forced to knit throughout the entire story and her death alludes to Greek Mythology's 3 Fates.
The dramatist Euripides also wrote a play called Antigone, which is lost, but some of the text was preserved by later writers and in passages in his Phoenissae. In Euripides, the calamity is averted by the intercession of Dionysus and is followed by the marriage of Antigone and Haemon.
Different elements of the legend appear in other places. A description of an ancient painting by Philostratus (Imag. ii. 29) refers to Antigone placing the body of Polynices on the funeral pyre, and this is also depicted on a sarcophagus in the Villa Pamfili in Rome. And in Hyginus' version of the legend, founded apparently on a tragedy by some follower of Euripides, Antigone, on being handed over by Creon to her lover Haemon to be slain, is secretly carried off by him and concealed in a shepherd's hut, where she bears him a son, Maeon. When the boy grows up, he attends some funeral games at Thebes, and is recognized by the mark of a dragon on his body. This leads to the discovery that Antigone is still alive. The demi-god Heracles then intercedes, pleading in vain with Creon for Haemon, who slew both Antigone and himself to escape his father's vengeance. This intercession by Heracles is also represented on a painted vase. (Heydermann, Über eine nacheuripideische Antigone, 1868).