The play begins with the sisters of the two brothers, Antigone and Ismene meeting in secret outside the gates of Thebes. Antigone wants to rebel and bury her brother; however, Ismene fears death and denies to help her. Later that day Creon asks his council of elders to support him in his decisions, especially the punishment of Polyneices, they agree, but a guard reports that a thin layer of dirt has been placed over Polyneices in the night. Creon angrily sends him out to find the culprit, he returns later with Antigone who does not deny her crime. Thinking that her sister must have helped her, Creon send for Ismene who confesses for this crime also. Antigone angrily protests that her sister had nothing to do with it. Creon orders them both imprisoned anyway.
Haemon, Creon's son and Antigone's fiancee, visits his father with hidden intentions to try and persuade him to free his fiancee. Their conversation does not go well and he vows to never see his father again. Creon decides to spare Ismene but Antigone is to be imprisoned in a cave. Teiresias, the blind prophet visits to warn Creon that the Gods are on Antigone's side. He also states that if he does not right the wrongs of leaving Polyneices unburied and Antigone entombed in the earth, he will lose one child for each crime. Creon sets out to right these decisions only to find his son Haemon and Antigone have taken their lives. After Creon's wife Eurydice hears of this, she also takes her life.
It can most commonly be interpreted that this ode pertains to Haemons' love for Antigone; however, it is possible that this speaks of Haemons' love for his father and the consequent disappointment it brings. Haemon's initial plea to his father, "give me good advice and I will follow it" (636) states that he has respect for his father and seeks his guidance. However, he discovers that his father is blinded by his perception of order. One that states that a woman cannot best a man, and a younger man cannot preach morals to his elders. In the flash of rage preceding his suicide he finds that the father he revered had led him astray and that he should have never taken his advice. Haemon sets himself free from living a life without love under the legacy of a cursed father, much like how Antigone and her siblings were cursed with Oedipus’s sins.
In conclusion, while the story may be named for Antigone, the tragic hero turns out to be Creon who loses all he loved to his pride and stubbornness. While love is present vaguely in the play it is played as a viscous and evil thing that twists those who are cursed with it.