A family curse. A fratricidal duel. A woman disregarding a royal decree. These themes are center stage in Sophocles' enduring play Antigone. His Antigone, the epitome of feminine strength and will, is inspiring.
Antigone and her sister Ismene have lost both of their brothers, Polynices and Eteocles in an ill-fated battle. King Creon declared Eteocles a hero for defending his city and honored his death, but ordered that Polynices, who had left the city then attacked it as a foreigner, be left in the streets to rot.
Sophocles focuses on the issue of choosing between loyalty to royal authority and family. Antigone risks her life to honor her brother's death without a second thought. I am unsure if I would be able to take such a strong stand as she did.
This story, full of ultimatums and ironic deaths, is paralleled in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In both plays, suicide ruins romantic relationships in a quite untimely manner.
Because of the time period in which it was written, Antigone may not be the average reader's cup of tea; however, I do recommend this tale of fate, rebellion, and brotherly love.