Study Guide

Antigone The Hero's Journey

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The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey is a framework that scholar Joseph Campbell came up with that many myths and stories follow. Many storytellers and story-readers find it a useful way to look at tale. (That's actually putting it lightly. Some people are straight-up obsessed.) Chris Vogler adapted Campbell's 17 stages of a hero's journey, which many screenwriters use while making movies. Vogler condensed Campbell's 17 stages down to 12, which is what we're using. Check out a general explanation of the 12 stages.

The story of Antigone doesn't fit perfectly into the Hero's Journey structure, but we're giving it a shot. As the gross old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Ordinary World

Antigone lives a nice life as the princess of Thebes.

Call To Adventure

Things get crazy when it's revealed that her dad, King Oedipus, unknowingly killed his own dad and married his (and Antigone's) mother Jocasta, making him Antigone's brother as well as father. When Oedipus blinds himself and heads off into exile, Antingone is the only one to go with him.

Refusal Of The Call

There's no refusal here. Antigone doesn't hesitate to go with her father/brother.

Meeting The Mentor

Oedipus is probably the closest thing that Antigone has to a mentor, but it's not clear if he actually teaches her anything. He's definitely the person that influences Antigone to go across the threshold though.

Crossing The Threshold

Together, Oedipus and Antigone head out into the wilderness.

Tests, Allies, Enemies

At Colonus, Antigone's uncle Creon proves to be an enemy when he tries to kidnap her. Theseus, King of Athens, proves to be a friend, though, when he grants Oedipus asylum and a peaceful place to die.

Approach To The Inmost Cave

Antigone learns that her brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, are fighting over the throne of Thebes, so she heads home to try and stop them.


After Eteocles and Polyneices kill each other in combat, Creon decrees that Polyneices' body won't receive a proper burial. Antigone defies her uncle and buries him anyway.


Instead of being rewarded, Antigone is punished by Creon, who sentences her to death by being buried alive in a tomb.

The Road Back

This kind of already happened when Antigone came back to Thebes.


There's no resurrection for Antigone. She hangs herself instead of slowly suffocating inside the tomb.

Return With The Elixir

Sorry, no elixir here... except maybe the integrity that Antigone takes with her into the Underworld.

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