42 Important Antigone Quotes Explained For Students

Find out the role of the chorus in 'Antigone' quotes and more here

Written before or in 441 BCE, 'Antigone' is a tragedy written by Sophocles.

'Antigone' is the third play in the series of events that took place in the plays on Thebes. But the interesting thing is that it was written first.

This tragic play is based on Antigone, the main character of the play. The plot of the story revolves around Antigone, Creon, and the abuse of power that has been brutally carried out by Creon. The main message that 'Antigone' gives is that the devotion to principles should be more than the laws of humans.

Antigone is the name of one of the children of Oedipus. Antigone has two brothers, Polyneices and Eteocles, and one sister Ismene. In the civil war of Thebes, both the brothers were on opposite sides and were killed. Creon, who became the new ruler of Thebes, declared that the body of Polyneices would not be buried by rituals but that Eteocles would be honored. Creon wanted the body of Polyneices to rot and be eaten by animals. Antigone takes a stand and decides that she will bury her brother. Ismene. The events continue when Creon's son, Haemon gets involved in the scene.

Haemon is Antigone's fiancé. First, he sides with his father but later on, it turns out that Haemon tried to persuade his father Creon to let Antigone bury her brother. When Creon realizes this, both men start insulting each other. The argument grows and at the end, Haemon swears that he never wants to see his father again.

By the end of the play, Antigone dies and also Haemon dies too. The death of his son makes Creon realize the blunder that he actually did make. The abuse of power that Creon is guilty of ruins the families and is the reason for the death of both people.

From the summary above, it can be seen that the main character, Antigone, had a fatal tragic flaw: her strength and stubborn loyalty. This 'flaw' actually gave her the strength she needed to follow the moral convictions she had and to maintain her loyalty towards her family, but it was a cause of her downfall.

In the play, the stone tomb is an important symbol. It symbolizes the loyalty of Antigone which was firmly with her father, brothers, and mother, who were dead and not with the present Kingdom and its King, Creon. As Creon condemns the stone tomb, it shows the poor judgments he made.

The play 'Antigone' so beautifully shows the free will of the wise Antigone, the love she had for her family, and how fate played an important role in the fall of the throne and King, eventually. Crime and the law in the city were not good and it took only one human to stand against the cruel law, woken by her grief, and blow down the kingdom.

This shows that any human is as strong as his or her mind is. It is good to be wise but a strong mind and a free soul are enough to turn a city upside down and the words below can quite prove that. We have gathered some important 'Antigone' quotes with analysis so that you get the wisdom that you need to lead the way.

If you like these, you can also study these ['Grapes Of Wrath' quotes] or ['Hamlet' madness quotes] to increase your wisdom more. But for now, let's take a look at these quotes from 'Antigone'. To quote from 'Antigone' simply find the line you wish to explore and write it, alongside the part of the play that it is from' inside quote marks.

Famous 'Antigone' Quotes

Here are some of the best Sophocles 'Antigone' quotes. You can also find 'Antigone' quotes about fate in this section. Read on to feed your mind about this tragic play that shows how fate played its role in the series of events that took place.

1. "Nobody likes the man who brings bad news."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

2. "I have no love for a friend who loves in words alone."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

3. "You are always defying the world, but you're only a girl, after all."

- Ismene, 'Part 2, Antigone'.

Explained: When Antigone tries to bury her brother, this argument was used by Ismene to stop her.

4. "It is the dead, not the living, who make the longest demands."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

5. "We have only a little time to please the living. But all eternity to love the dead."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

6. "All men are liable to error. But when an error is made, that man is no longer unwise or unblessed who heals the evil into which he has fallen and does not remain stubborn."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

7. "Our ship of fate, which recent storms have threatened to destroy, has come safely to harbor at last."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

8. "There is no happiness where there is no wisdom; No wisdom but in submission to the gods. Big words are always punished, and proud men in old age learn to be wise."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

9. "We are of the tribe that hates your filthy hope, your docile, female hope."

- Antigone, 'Part 7, The Antigone'.

Explained: These words are spoken by Antigone to Creon when he says that Antigone is like her father while embracing the tragic fate he had.

10. "Evil sometimes seems good to a man whose mind a god leads to destruction."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

'Antigone' Quotes About Justice

Among all the men in 'Antigone', Antigone stands out as the protagonist.

Justice is a big topic. Hence, in this section, you will find 'Antigone' quotes about law, 'Antigone' quotes about betrayal, 'Antigone' quotes about Creon's leadership, and every other quote that has anything to do with justice in any way.

11. "Dear god, shout it from the rooftops. I’ll hate you all the more for silence—tell the world!"

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

12. "Isn't a man's right to burial decreed by divine justice? I don't consider your pronouncements so important that they can just overrule the unwritten laws of heaven."

- Antigone, 'Antigone'.

Explained: These lines were said by Antigone when she was trying to fight for the right to bury her dead brother.

13. "A State for one man is no State at all."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

14. "Those who have survived... won't remember who was who or which was which."

- Chorus, 'Part 10, Antigone'.

Explained: At the beginning of the play, these lines are said by the chorus to show what is what and who is who.

15. "I'm simply powerless to act against this city's law."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

16. "These signs portend evil for Thebes; and the trouble stems from your policy. Why? Because our altars are polluted by flesh brought be dogs and birds, picking from Polynices' corpse. Small wonder that the gods won't accept our sacrifices."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

17. "Yea, for these laws were not ordained of Zeus, And she who sits enthroned with gods below, Justice, enacted not these human laws. Nor did I deem that thou, a mortal man, Could’st by a breath annul and override The immutable unwritten laws of Heaven."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

18. "Show me the man who keeps his house in hand, he's fit for public authority."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

Antigone Quotes About Death

This section is dedicated to 'Antigone' quotes about the gods, death, evil, grief and the dead. The essence of death is captured in an interesting way in the play.

19. "Your death is the doing of your own conscious hand."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

Explained: Antigone says this to Ismene referencing a plague set on the city.

20. "I didn't say yes. I can say no to anything I say vile, and I don't have to count the cost. But because you said yes, all that you can do, for all your crown and your trappings, and your guards—all that your can do is to have me killed."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

21. "For death is gain to him whose life, like mine, is full of misery."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

22. "The king was shattered. We took his orders, went and searched, and there in the deepest, dark recesses of the tomb we found her..."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

23. "I will bury him myself."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

24. "I am not afraid of the danger; if it means death. It will not be the worst of deaths - death without honor."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

25. "Not many days and your house will be full of men and women weeping, and curses will be hurled at you from far cities grieving for sons unburied, left to rot before the walls of Thebes."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

Explained: This was a threat given to Creon by Teiresias to which Creon repents, but it was too late and the prophecy came true. This is among the most powerful Creon 'Antigone' quotes.

26. "Say I am mad and give my madness rein To wreck itself; the worst that can befall Is but to die an honorable death."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

27. "And even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory. I will lie with the one I love and loved by him."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

28. "For whoso lives, as I, in many woes, how can it be but death shall bring him gain?"

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

'Antigone' Quotes About Pride

Discover ruins of an ancient Greek kingdom in which 'Antigone' is set.

Here, we have collected 'Antigone' quotes about honor for you to read. The pride and honor that Antigone had can be easily understood from these quotes.

29. "The girl was an old hand at insolence when she overrode the edicts we made public. But once she had done it—the insolence, twice over—to glory in it laughing, mocking us to our face with what she’d done."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

30. "My nails are broken, my fingers are bleeding, my arms are covered with the welts left by the paws of your guards—but I am a queen!"

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

31. "Like father, like daughter, passionate, wild... she hasn't learned to bend before adversity."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

Explained: This line was said by Creon about Antigone, as she was full of pride and was not ready to let go of her brother's burial.

32. "She has much to learn. The inflexible heart breaks first, the toughest iron cracks first, and the wildest horses bend their necks and pull at the smallest curb."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

33. "If Haemon reaches the point where he stops growing pale with fear when I grow pale, stops thinking that I must have been killed in an accident when I am five minutes late, stops feeling that he is alone on earth when I laugh and he doesn't know why—if he too has to learn to say yes to everything—why, no, then, no! I do not love Haemon!"

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

Explained: Said by Antigone, these words describe how much pride she had. She said these words about Haemon, her fiancé.

'Antigone' Quotes About Family

This section contains 'Antigone' quotes about her brother and family, and 'Antigone' quotes about loyalty. This section is dedicated to the love Antigone had for her family and the loyalty she showed to them even after their deaths. It is so tragically beautiful that Antigone died rather than being disloyal to her family.

34. "What’s that? O god! Do I really hear you sobbing? - my two children."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

35. "I was born to join in love, not hate - that is my nature."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

36. "I intend to give my brother burial. I'll be glad to die in the attempt. If it's a crime, then it's a crime that God commands."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

Explained: The words are said by Antigone about her brother. She is stubborn about giving her brother a proper burial even when king Creon does not allow that. She is ready to die for that if that's what it takes.

37. "No man shall say that I betrayed a brother."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

38. "Oh let him come! Many other men have rebellious children, quick tempers, too... but they listen to reason, they relent the worst rage in their natures charmed away by the soothing spells of loved ones."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

39. "Now you can prove what you are: A true sister, or a traitor to your family."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

Explained: These words are said to Antigone, challenging her to prove who she actually is. These words are said to confuse her so that she lets go of the burial of her brother.

40. "But my two daughters, my two helpless girls, clustering at our table, never without me hovering near them... whatever I touched, they always had their share. Take care of them, I beg you."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

41. "No youths have sung the marriage song for me, My bridal bed No maids have strewn with flowers from the lea, ‘Tis Death I wed."

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

42. "Creon, you’ve pitied me? Sent my darling girls, my own flesh and blood! Am I right?"

- Sophocles, 'Antigone'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 42 important 'Antigone' quotes explained for students, then why not take a look at these 'Great Expectations' quotes or Grendel quotes for more quotes that you will love to study?


Written By

Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

Share this article




Get The Kidadl Newsletter
1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.