Polyneices was one of the two sons of Oedipus and the older brother of Eteocles. After Oedipus's self-exile, he and Eteocles were intended to share the throne after one year of rule from each; however, Eteocles refused to relinquish his throne and expelled Polyneices from Thebes. Polyneices journeyed to Colonus to consult with Oedipus and apologize to him, and he requested Oedipus to help him fight against Eteocles to recapture the city. However, Oedipus scolded Polyneices for disrespecting him, and as a result Oedipus laid a curse on Polyneices and Eteocles that prompted their deaths in the battle. As such, Polyneices died along with his brother in the seige.
When Creon came to power, he disgraced Polyneices's body by leaving him out to the wild animals in the battlegrounds. Creon made it a point that whoever buried his body, they would be given the death punishment. Antigone bravely decides to bury him, and consequently she is incarcerated in an underground cave where she hangs herself.