ANTIGONE – Monologue (Antigone)

A monologue from the play by Sophocles

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Greek Dramas. Ed. Bernadotte Perrin. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1904.


Tomb, bridal chamber,
eternal prison in the caverned rock,
whither I go to find mine own, those
many who have perished, and whom
Persephone hath received among the dead!
Last of all shall I pass thither, and far most
miserably of all, before the term of my life is spent.
But I cherish good hope that my coming will be
welcome to my father, and pleasant to thee, my mother, and welcome, brother, to thee; for, when you died,
with mine own hands I washed and dressed you,
and poured drink-offerings at your graves;
and now, Polyneices, ’tis for tending thy corpse
that I win such recompense as this. And yet
I honored thee, as the wise will deem, rightly.
Never had I been a mother of children,
or if a husband had been moldering in death,
would I have taken this task upon me in the city’s despite.
What law, ye ask, is my warrant for that word?
The husband lost, another might have been found,
and child from another, to replace the first-born;
but, father and mother hidden with Hades,
no brother’s life could ever bloom for me again.
Such was the law whereby I held thee first in honor;
but Creon deemed me guilty of error therein,
and of outrage, ah brother mine!
And now he leads me thus, a captive in his hands;
no bridal bed, no bridal song hath been mine,
no joy of marriage, no portion in the nurture of children; but thus, forlorn of friends, unhappy one, I go living to the vaults of death.
And what law of Heaven have I transgressed?
Why, hapless one, should I look to the gods anymore–what ally should I invoke–when by piety
I have earned the name of impious? Nay, then,
if these things are pleasing to the gods,
when I have suffered my doom,
I shall come to know my sin; but if the sin
is with my judges, I could wish them
no fuller measure of evil than they,
on their part, mete wrongfully to me.

Read the play here

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