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Antigone's Tomb Symbol Analysis

Antigone's Tomb Symbol Icon
Creon chooses to execute Antigone by sealing her in a tomb alive. As Tiresias points out, Creon has ordered that a dead body (Polynices's) be left above ground and has ordered the entombment of a live person. Antigone's live entombment is a symbol of Creon's perversion of the natural order of things, which violate the social and religious customs of death and meddles with the affairs of the underworld.

Antigone's Tomb Quotes in Antigone

The Antigone quotes below all refer to the symbol of Antigone's Tomb. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Antigone published in 1984.
Lines 705-1090 Quotes
But if these men are wrong, let them suffer
nothing worse than they mete out to me—
these masters of injustice!
Related Characters: Antigone (speaker), Creon
Related Symbols: Antigone's Tomb
Page Number: 1019-1021
Explanation and Analysis:

Creon has instructed the guards to build Antigone a tomb and place her in it. Antigone mourns her fate, but has stated that she would not have done anything differently. As she is led away, she exclaims that she is being punished for honoring the gods, and asks the gods to punish those responsible for her death. She calls Creon and his men "masters of injustice," though asks that the gods do nothing worse to them than has been done to her. Antigone's plea to the gods highlights her strong sense of fairness and fundamental belief that she has made the right decision. Despite breaking the law, she feels confident that she is on the side of divine justice. 

This paradox illustrates the importance of natural law versus the law of the state. While particular rulers and regimes can be unjust, the law of the gods is eternal and always correct. Indeed, as Antigone's case proves, the laws of a particular mortal political regime may in fact violate the will of the gods; yet, as the play shows, this violation will not go unpunished. 


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Still the same rough winds, the wild passion
raging through the girl.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Antigone
Related Symbols: Antigone's Tomb
Page Number: 1022-1023
Explanation and Analysis:

Antigone has been taken away by the guards to be sealed in her tomb. The chorus delivers a chant about all the people in different myths who were killed by being buried alive in a tomb. All were royalty or the children of gods, but none of them survived their fate.

In this passage, the chorus describes how Antigone's "wild passion" was inherited from her father, and that the intensity of this passion is akin to "rough winds." However, this wild and free spirit contrasts with the way in which Antigone is doomed to die: trapped within a tomb from which there is no hope of escape. This contrast again highlights the powerlessness of any mortal human in the face of the forces of fate, while also again connecting Antigone's fate to the previous sins of her father. 

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Antigone's Tomb Symbol Timeline in Antigone

The timeline below shows where the symbol Antigone's Tomb appears in Antigone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 705-1090
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...enters, and tells the guards to interrupt her lament, to take her away, build a tomb, and place her in it. (full context)
Lines 1091-1470
Natural Law Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...went to bury Polynices. Just as they were finishing, they heard a cry at Antigone's tomb that sounded like Haemon's voice, and rushed over. At the tomb, they found Antigone hanged... (full context)