When Oedipus stepped down as King of Thebes, he gave the kingdom to his two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, who both agreed to alternate the throne every year. However, they showed no concern for their father, who cursed them for their negligence. After the first year, Eteocles refused to step down and Polyneices attacked Thebes with his supporters (the Seven Against Thebes). Both brothers died in the battle. Polyneices engendered the support of Amphiaraus by offering his wife Eriphyle the necklace of Harmonia.
Polyneices' story continues, somewhat, after his death. King Creon, who ascended to the throne of Thebes, decreed that Polyneices was not to be buried. Antigone, his sister, defied the order, but was caught. Creon decreed that she was to starve to death, this in spite of her betrothal to his son Haemon. Antigone's sister, Ismene, then declared she had aided Antigone and wanted the same fate. Creon imprisoned Antigone in a sepulchre; meanwhile the gods, through the blind prophet Tiresias, expressed their disapproval of Creon's decision, which convinced him to rescind his order. He then went to bury Polyneices himself, and release Antigone. However, she had already hanged herself rather than be buried alive. When Creon arrived at the tomb where she was to be interred, his son Haemon made as if to attack him and then killed himself. When Creon's wife, Eurydice, was informed of their death, she, too, took her own life.