Instant Monologues
Sophocles Antigone Instant Monologue

by Sophocles

EXT: Outside the Palace gates

Antigone, a young woman, has been sentenced to be executed for burying her brother's body.


O grave, O bridal bower, O prison house

Hewn from the rock, my everlasting home,

Whither I go to join the mighty host

Of kinsfolk, Persephassa's guests long dead,

The last of all, of all more miserable,

I pass, my destined span of years cut short.

And yet good hope is mine that I shall find

A welcome from my sire, a welcome too,

From thee, my mother, and my brother dear;

From with these hands, I laved and decked your limbs

In death, and poured libations on your grave.

And last, my Polyneices, unto thee

I paid due rites, and this my recompense!

Yet am I justified in wisdom's eyes.

For even had it been some child of mine,

Or husband mouldering in death's decay,

I had not wrought this deed despite the State.

What is the law I call in aid? 'Tis thus

I argue. Had it been a husband dead

I might have wed another, and have borne

Another child, to take the dead child's place.

But, now my sire and mother both are dead,

No second brother can be born for me.

Thus by the law of conscience I was led

To honor thee, dear brother, and was judged

By Creon guilty of a heinous crime.

And now he drags me like a criminal,

A bride unwed, amerced of marriage-song

And marriage-bed and joys of motherhood,

By friends deserted to a living grave.

What ordinance of heaven have I transgressed?

Hereafter can I look to any god

For succor, call on any man for help?

Alas, my piety is impious deemed.

Well, if such justice is approved of heaven,

I shall be taught by suffering my sin;

But if the sin is theirs, O may they suffer

No worse ills than the wrongs they do to me.

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