This first scene in the book holds much importance. Antigone has just figured out King Creon's plan with her brother's bodies. This causes her to become disgruntled and furious inside. She comes up with an elaborate plan to bring justice to both of her brother's. This allows Sophocles' readers to see what kind of person Antigone is.
I know that's why I brought you here, outside the gates, so only you can hear
What is it? The way you look makes it seem you're thinking of some dark and gloomy news
Ismene doesn't seem as upset as Antigone was when she figured out the news of her poor brother Polyneices. This is where Sophocles begins to show the difference between these two sisters. Ismene wants to help but little does she know what kind of help Antigone is needing.
Look- what's Creon doing with our two brothers? He's honoring one with a full funeral and treating the other one disgracefully!
Oh my poor sister, if that's what's happening, what can I say that would be any help to ease the situation or resolve it
Out of the two sisters, Ismene tends to abide by the laws despite the situation. Meanwhile Antigone is basically saying forget the rules, this is our brother, our family. Antigone is set on doing something about Polyneices' body, while Ismene would like to see her brother's body buried she doesn't want to suffer if caught.
Think whether you will work with me in this act together.
Will you help these hands take up Polyneices' corpse and bury it?
What?! You're going to bury Polyneices, when that's been made a crime for all in Thebes
In what kind of work? What do you mean?
When Antigone says "I'll do my duty to my brother," she shows that nothing is more important than family, and that she would do anything for family. Sophocles demonstrates that Antigone is not afraid of King Creon nor his laws when she makes a stand and says "he's no right to keep me from what's mine," meaning family.
Yes. I'll do my duty to my brother-- and yours as well, if you're not prepared to. I won't be caught betraying him.
Yes. But he's no right to keep me from what's mine.
You're too rash. Has Creon not expressly banned that act?
Ismene is clearly afraid of what might happen to her if she gets caught putting family fist. She tries to remind Antigone that there are laws for a reason and that reason is not meant to cross it. Ismene is caught putting civil laws before divine laws.
Think how we'll die far worse than all the rest, if we defy the law and move against the king's decree, against his royal power
So I'll ask those underground for pardon-- since I'm being compelled, I will obey those in control. That's what I'm forced to do. It makes no sense to try to do too much.
I would'nt urge you to. No. Not even if you were keen to act
Ismene believes that it is here nature to follow the king's rule and that it's not her job to break them but follow them. She believes that as women they don't have much power so it's their job to follow the people that are more powerful.
Let that be your excuse. I'm going now to make a burial mound for my dear brother.
I'm not disrespecting them. But I can't act against the state. That's not in my nature.