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In his long life, Sophocles (born ca. 496 B.C., died after 413) wrote more than one hundred plays. Of these, seven complete tragedies remain, among them the famed Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. In Antigone, he reveals the fate that befalls the children of Oedipus.
Polynices, son of Oedipus, has led a rebellious army against his brother, Eteocles, ruler of Thebes. Both have died in single combat. When Creon, their uncle, assumes rule, he commands that the body of the rebel Polynices be left unburied and unmourned, and warns that anyone who tampers with his decree will be put to death.
Antigone, sister of Polynices, defies Creon's order and buries her brother, claiming that she honors first the laws of the gods. Enraged, Creon condemns her to be sealed in a cave and left to die. How the gods take their revenge on Creon provides the gripping denouement to this compelling, frequently performed tragedy.
Reginald Gibbons is the author of nine volumes of poems, including Sparrow: New and Selected Poems, It's Time and Fern-Texts. With Charles Segal he has also translated Euripides' Bakkhai. He teaches at Northwestern University. The late Charles Segal was Walter C. Klein Professor of the Classics at Harvard University. His many books include Sophocles' Tragic World, Tragedy and Civilization: An Interpretation of Sophocles, and Oedipus Tyrannus: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge.
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