Antigone, while Ismene is more open-minded. Both are very moral and sensitive women who's loyalty brings them into conflict, although Antigone's loyalty to family over king is the more persuasive argument. Antigone's decision causes more tragedy than the more practical Ismene.
This play presents a timeless conflict. It is Sophocles' story of family honor and family bonds versus loyalty to the state and the law. This play clearly illustrates conflicting interests and loyalties among the characters. Antigone believes that her family is more important than the law, which was made by Creon. Creon believes that the king, and the laws he represents, are more important than family, "No one is above the law and king." Creon says. .
Ismene and Haimon both suffer because of the single-mindedness of Antigone and Creon. Ironically Antigone's high morality results in more suffering: her own death and the death of Haimon. By the end of the story, Creon becomes convinced that his actions were not the right thing to do.
These relationships and the changes and insights the characters experience pull the reader into the story. There is real drama, and believable characters, and real tension. The main characters, dramatically opposed to each other in intent, come to understand the viewpoint of the other, even though they cannot accept it. This movement toward both separation and understanding works on all the characters, Creon as much as Antigone. Their fatal contrast is between loyalty to family and loyalty to the law.