Antigone. c. 442 B.C.
Prologus, 1-99. (Antigone, Ismene)
Antigone announces that she will bury Polynices in defiance of Cleon's decree.Parodos, 100-161. (Chorus)
Ismene argues that they must obey the law.
The Chorus of Theban elders celebrate their victory and the retreat of the enemy.First episode, 162-331. (Creon, Chorus; Guard)
Creon announces that Eteocles will be honored, but Polynices will be left to rot. The Chorus bow to his authority.First stasimon, 332-375. (Chorus)
One of those guarding the corpse arrives to announce that someone has secretly given burial rites to Polynices during the night. Creon is outraged, and accuses the guards of being bribed.
The guards must find the criminal or die themselves.
Many wonders there be, but none more wondrous than man. He sails the sea, plows the earth, traps birds and beasts, tames animals, builds shelter, cures plague; but a cure for death is beyond his cunning. His cunning is used for good but also for evil; we must condemn the lawless.Anapaests, 376-383. (Chorus)
The Chorus, to its amazement, sights Antigone taken captive.Second episode, 384-581. (Guard, Antigone, Creon, Chorus)
The guard reports that Antigone was captured in the act. Antigone admits the charge, but claims to obey the divineSecond stasimon, 582-625. (Chorus)
laws which are superior to those of man.
Creon rebukes her stubborn will, and declares that he will assert his authority both over her and Ismene. Creon asks, How could she support the enemy of her city and eteocles? Antigone will have no part of the hatreds of her brothers, but will only show her filial love.
Ismene tries to share responsibility for the crime but is rebuked by an indignant Antigone. Creon arrests them both.
The Chorus laments how the curse on a house is passed from generation to generation.Anapaests, 626-630. (Chorus)
The Chorus espy Haemon approaching in anger.Third episode, 631-780. (Creon, Haemon, Chorus)
Haemon declares his support for Creon, who receives it with one of his usual swipes at womankind. Haemon proffers the advice that the city shows sympathy for Antigone, and that this view has merit.Third stasimon, 781-800. (Chorus)
Creon is enraged at his son's brazen attempt to give him advice. A heated exchanged between father and son. Creon threatens to kill Antigone on the spot; Haemon departs, declaring that Creon will never see him again.
Creon announces that Antigone will be taken to a deserted rocky place with a bit of food, so that she can die without the blood being on his hands.
Ode to Love, which conquers all.Anapaests, 801-805. (Chorus)
The Chorus see Antigone on her way to her living tomb.Fourth episode, 806-943. (Antigone, Creon, Chorus)
Kommos, 806-882. Antigone laments that she is to be the bride only of Death. The Chorus remind her of a famous exemplum: Niobe, imprisoned in rock.Fourth stasimon, 944-987. (Chorus)
Creon orders Antigone off. Antigone notes the priority of a brother over husband or child.
The Chorus adduce other exempla: Dana„e, Cleopatra.Fifth episode, 988-1114. (Teiresias, Creon, Chorus)
Teiresias reports trouble with the augury, and advises Creon to relent. Creon is furious and accuses Teiresias of being bribed.Fifth stasimon, 1115-1154. (Chorus)
Teiresias predicts death to Creon's son as the gods' recompense for his profanation of the corpse. Creon is very worried, and at the Chorus' advice, decides to yield. He goes to bury Polynices and release Antigone.
Ode to Dionysus, the guardian of Thebes.Exodos, 1155-1352. (Messenger, Chorus; Eurydice; Creon)
A messenger announces the fall from fortune of Creon. Eurydice enters and at her insistence the messenger tells
the tale: after the burial of Polynices, Creon has found Antigone hanged by her own hand and Haemon embracing her in grief. Haemon tried to kill Creon, but, unsuccessful, he turned the sword on himself. Eurydice quietly exits.
Kommos, 1261-1347. Creon enters with the corpse of Haemon. A messenger comes from the palace to announce the death by Eurydice, who stabbed herself while cursing her husband. Creon hopes for a speedy end, his wisdom hard gained.
ANTIGONH . Antigona .
The political aspects of the Antigone (particularly Creon's views) were taken seriously by the Greeks. Aristotle quotes frequently from it in his Politics and Demosthenes had the clerk of the court read out Creon's speech on the proper loyalties of a citizen (lines 194-214) as a lesson in patriotism to his opponent Aeschines, who had himself once been an actor and had played the part of Creon (de fals. leg. 247). Famous modern adaptations have also been political: Anouihl's Antigone (1944) identifies Antigone with the French resistance and Creon with the forces of order the Gestapo and the miliciens ; Brecht's Antigone (1948) is more radical to the spirit of the play, identifying Creon with Hitler and Antigone with the German people who wish to rise against him.
Antigone's speech in which she puts a brother over husband and children has been suspected by some (905ff, bracketed by Jebb). But Aristotle summarizes the speech in his Rhetoric, and the logic is common in near-eastern folktales, used also by Herodotus in his tale of the wife of Intaphrenes (3.119).
The Genealogy of Oedipus (according to Sophocles)
Ares = Aphrodite Agenor
Harmonia = Cadmus
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Polydorus Agave Semele = Zeus
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Labdacus Pentheus Dionysus
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Laius = Jocasta Creon
Oedipus = Jocasta Oedipus |
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Eteocles Polynices Ismene Antigone Haemon Megareus = Heracles