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l 8,

a I f;0PHOCLES ! Antigone
hero can extend the horizons of what Is possible for man;
for the rest of us, who must follow the discreetness of the
chorus and the Jesser characters, the spectacl; of ,a young .) of
girl giving up life and iove for the of an ldeal mwt re-
main permanently ewlying.

SOPHOCLES Hadas, Moses. Greek Drama. New york:

Bantam Be<ks"r"'I~;>a 1965.


OEnJPUS' SONS Etcocles and

Polrnelces had arranged to rule Thebes by tum. and when
Eteocles refused to yield Polvneices his turn, Polynciccs, with
support from Argos, marched against his own citv. Both broth-
ers were killed in the battle, and the regent Creon ordained
that 'while Eteocles should receive honorable burial, I'olv-
neices' body should be cast out unburied. Antigone tells how
Polvnelces' sister contravened this order and suffered ma r-tvr->
dam in consequence. It is tempting to raise Antigone as a
saint and condemn Creon as a tvrant. but it must be notIce
~ th:1t Antigone is not \.".ho1ly right nor Creon wholly \'r'Tong.
~,(l.0\:r) ~.Q p\. How could a consrienuol1s ruler honor the statc;s enemYf
~'r-. '-' l> a_od ho:~' could a girl ?i'iObey an at:thorltattvc order? An-
\co tigone IS possessed, as the contrast with the normal Ismene
-, makes pia in. 'Ve sympathize when she gives her brother
~(\-\.>\ token burial by strewing dust on the corpse: but pictv re-
C'" quired no more, and her repetition of the merely ritual form
makes her sanity questionable. The great chorus which be--
gins "Wonders arc mJ.ny, and none is more wonderful
than man" concludes by insisting that for ail man's in-
genuity he must not ignore the laws of the state. Creon does
bluster, to cover his weakness, but his afflictions arc almost
greater than Antigone's. He shov..·3 his devotion to duty, after
Teircsfas' admonition, by firs: giving Polvneiccs proper burial
and then going to free Antigone. 'But the tragedy Is properly
named for Antigone rather than Creon. Only a self-impelled