Oh Isy, don’t you think, dear sis’, we’ve had enough
grief from the curse on dad? We’ve had it rough alright.
As if that were not tough enough, then what about
the latest guff that’s spewed from Creon’s mouth?
I haven’t heard a thing; not since us two
lost both our brothers in that double blow
in just one hour before the army fled
back to Argive, with Poly and Eteo dead.
I thought you hadn’t a clue, that’s why I came with you
to speak outside; you see — there’s something we must do.
Antigone … you’re sounding really weird —
Okay, listen Ismene. Creon gave Eteocles
a decent burial, full state honours, as he should.
But Polyneices fought as hard, was just as good
in battle, but he still lies in the mud, for flies
and worms and vultures to eat up, because — they say —
that Creon has vowed this: No one shall dig his tomb,
no one shall mourn, no crowd shall praise his name — no way!
Now Creon’s coming here to spell it out. No room
for doubt, the penalty is stoning in the square.
There! You can’t be untold — it’s time to show you care:
be true to me your sister, or betray your family there.
Antigone, you’re mad! What can I do?
What can I do? you ask? Surely you must know.
It’s simple: With me or not? Are you in? Yes or no?
I don’t know what you mean, ‘Tig. In with what?
I’m going to bury him, Isy, of course! Will you come?
You’re crazy! I don’t want pelting with stones.
He - is - my brother! And yours. We must bury his bones.
Think of the risk. Think what the king will do.
Creon can’t stop me doing this —
Our dad, Oedipus, died hated by all
for the horrors he unearthed. He fucked his mum,
our mum, his wife — no wonder that she hung
herself, and he gouged out his eyes, appalled.
Would that not have been enough misery?
You’d think so — but then our two brothers died.
Each by the other’s sword fell, side-by-side.
So now, Antigone, there’s just us two.
Think how much worse, then, our own deaths would be
if we defy the king, and do what he’s
forbidden. We women cannot fight with men.
We’ve also got to give the law its due.
And think of our lost loved ones looking on;
I beg their pardon, but I can’t rebel
with you. Not only that, but I must tell
you that you’re playing with fire by meddling in
affairs beyond you.
If that’s the way you’re thinking, then
I wouldn’t want you with me even if you begged!
You’ve made your bed, so now that’s where you’ve got to lie.
But I will bury our brother. If that means I must die? —
Well, good for me! At least I won’t be always wracked
with guilt. Instead I’ll lie with him, and he with me
in death’s embrace - outlasting any human love.
The dead command our faith, ‘cos when push comes to shove,
we die for ever.
You, Ismene, do as you please.
It seems you never care for eternal laws like these.
I do care — but I don’t think that I could
break earthly laws, made for the public good.
Oh, nice excuse, sister. May it make you feel well.
But I’ll bury my love, our brother, for heaven’s sake — or for hell.
Oh sister, I’m afraid…
Well, sis’ you needn’t be;
You’ve looked after yourself by not sticking with me.
At least I’ll back you up by keeping quiet.
No one must know…
Ach! Spit it out. Tell everyone.
Think how they’ll all despise you when the truth comes out
and they learn you knew the plan, when I am dead and gone.
So feisty, sister. I’d be bricking it.
And you’d be right. But I am doing what I must.
But, ‘Tig, I’m not sure that you’re up to it.
You think? Ok, I’ll promise this: that when I’m dust
I’ll pack it in right there. Does that sound fair?
If you can’t win, you shouldn’t play the game.
Fuck off, Ismene, please, before I kill you first.
You’ll make me hate you soon, along with all the dead.
Your words are spiteful. Leave me to my foolish plan.
I’m not afraid of death, you see; in fact I thirst
for death; at least this way I’ll have honour on my head.
You go then, if you must, to meet your fate:
even death. You’ll always be my flame,
you stupid, loyal, loving, mad, best mate.
[Exit into the Palace, ANTIGONE goes off. Enter the CHORUS
And so the sun lifts up its sharpened ray
to skewer the night, to tap the coming day
upon its shoulders like a king making a knight.
This day will shape Thebes’ future, for wrong, or for right.