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by Sophocles

Antigone Theme of Mortality

Self-injury and suicide are almost universally prevalent among the main characters in the Oedipus trilogy, and particularly in Antigone. Antigone, Haemon, and Eurydice each commit suicide; Polyneices and Eteocles willingly take actions that result in their deaths. The frequency of suicide and death more broadly suggest that in the context of the plays, life is tenuous, and that taking one’s own life is an acceptable, if tragic, way of dying. Furthermore, self-injury and suicide seem to be the only ways in which characters in Antigone are able to influence their destinies.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Why do some characters, such as Antigone, look favorably on death?
  2. Why do Haemon and Eurydice kill themselves?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Suicide in Antigone is a consequence of characters’ frustration that they have no influence over their own fate.

Suicide in Antigone is employed by characters who accept and are at peace with their fate.

Suicide in Antigone is employed by characters who are trying to escape their fate.

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