What does the name Antigone mean?

Answered by Robert Dupre

The name Antigone holds a significant meaning in Greek mythology and is commonly associated with the tragic heroine from Sophocles’ play, “Antigone.” Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, making her a sister to Polynices, Eteocles, and Ismene.

The name Antigone derives from the Greek words “anti” meaning “in place of” or “instead of” and “gone” meaning “parents.” Therefore, the name can be interpreted to mean “worthy of one’s parents” or “in place of one’s parents.”

In the context of the play, Antigone embodies the meaning of her name. After the death of her father Oedipus, Antigone assumes the responsibility of caring for her younger siblings and becomes a surrogate parent figure. She remains fiercely loyal to her family and is determined to honor her brother Polynices, despite the decree of their uncle, King Creon.

Antigone’s unwavering dedication to her family and her refusal to compromise her principles form the backbone of her character. She believes in the importance of honoring the dead and fulfilling her familial obligations, even if it means defying the laws of the state. Antigone’s actions ultimately lead to her tragic demise but also serve as a testament to her strong sense of duty and sacrifice.

Beyond the specific character in Greek mythology, the name Antigone carries a timeless significance. It represents the idea of being devoted to one’s family and fulfilling the responsibilities that come with that role. It symbolizes the strength and courage to stand up for what one believes in, even in the face of adversity.

In a broader sense, Antigone’s name can be seen as a reminder of the importance of familial bonds and the values that guide our actions. It serves as a timeless reminder of the complexities of loyalty, morality, and the consequences of our choices.

The name Antigone holds a deep and profound meaning, rooted in Greek mythology and the enduring themes of family, duty, and sacrifice. It represents a character who is willing to defy societal norms and face the consequences for the sake of upholding her beliefs and honoring her family.