Does Antigone bury Oedipus?

Answered by Frank Schwing

Antigone does indeed bury Oedipus. In the play Antigone, written by Sophocles, we witness the aftermath of Oedipus’ death and the conflict that arises between his two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, over who should be given a proper burial. It is Antigone, their sister, who takes it upon herself to ensure that their father receives the burial he deserves, despite the decree of the new ruler, Creon.

After Oedipus dies in exile, Antigone returns to Thebes, where she learns of the power struggle between her brothers and the edict issued by Creon, the newly crowned king. Creon declares that Eteocles, who defended Thebes, will receive a hero’s burial, while Polynices, who attacked the city, will be left unburied as a warning to others. Antigone is deeply troubled by this decree, as she believes that every person, regardless of their actions in life, deserves a proper burial as a matter of respect and honor.

Driven by her strong sense of duty and familial love, Antigone defies Creon’s law and decides to bury her brother Polynices. She believes that it is her moral obligation to ensure that her family members are given the proper rites of burial, regardless of the consequences. Antigone is aware of the risk she is taking, as she could face death for her disobedience, but she remains steadfast in her convictions.

Antigone’s act of burying Oedipus symbolizes her unwavering loyalty to her family and her defiance against the oppressive rule of Creon. She believes that divine law and the moral obligations towards family take precedence over human laws. By burying Oedipus, Antigone not only fulfills her duty as a daughter but also stands up against the unjust rule of Creon, who prioritizes political power over familial bonds.

The burial of Oedipus serves as a catalyst for the tragic events that unfold in the play. Antigone’s actions lead to her arrest and subsequent confrontation with Creon. Despite her pleas and arguments, Creon remains resolute in his decision to punish her for her disobedience. This conflict between Antigone and Creon raises questions about the role of authority, morality, and the limits of human law.

Antigone does bury Oedipus, her father, in defiance of Creon’s edict. Her actions highlight her unwavering love and loyalty towards her family, as well as her belief in the importance of honoring the dead. The burial of Oedipus becomes a pivotal moment in the play, setting in motion a tragic chain of events that explores themes of power, morality, and the clash between divine and human law.