Antigone is the subject of a popular story in which she attempts to secure a respectable burial for her brother Polynices, who was killed in battle between him and his brother Eteocles even though he is seen as a traitor to Thebes and the law forbids even mourning for him, punishable by death.
In the oldest version of the story, the burial of Polynices takes place during Oedipus’ reign in Thebes, before Oedipus marries Jocasta. However, in the best-known versions, Sophocles’ tragedies Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone, it occurs in the years after Oedipus’ banishment and death, and Antigone has to struggle against Creon. Creon was next in line to throne, as he was Jocasta’s brother by Menoeceus. In Sophocles’ version, after Oedipus’ death, it was decided that the two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices were to reign over Thebes taking turns. In the fight against Thebes, the two brothers kill each other. Antigone is brought before Creon, and states that she knew Creon’s law but chose to break it, expounding upon the superiority of ‘divine law’ to that made by man. She puts the will of the gods ahead of manmade laws, responding to the decision of not granting Polynices a burial with courage, passion, and determination.