A field experiment was conducted to evaluate the response of ten sesame genotypes to different levels of soil water in terms of contents of proline, soluble carbohydrates, carotenoids, and activities of catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POX) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX). Plants were grown under three irrigation levels, including irrigation at 55 % (control), 75, and 85 % depletion of soil available water. Field test plots were a two-way factorial arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Under control level of irrigation, the most and the least grain yields were achieved for genotypes Ultan (2,519 kg/ha) and Isfahan1 (1,311 kg/ha), respectively. Grain yield was decreased in some genotypes under 75 % and in all genotypes under 85 % depletion of available water. Based on percentage reduction in grain yield under both 75 and 85 % depletion of soil available water, Isfahan4, Borazjan, Isfahan1, Ahvaz, Ardestan, and Shiraz were recognized as relatively tolerant and Ultan, Shahreza, Kal, and Markazi were identified as relatively sensitive to water stress. The activities of antioxidant enzymes and the contents of carotenoids, proline, and soluble carbohydrates in leaves were increased in most genotypes under stress conditions, and the magnitudes of the increases were greater in the tolerant than in the sensitive genotypes. The results of this experiment showed that the stress-induced increase of antioxidant enzymes and the contents of the compatible solutes in leaves were related to the tolerance of sesame genotypes.