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any one regard the hearth of Pythian divination, or the birds that scream overhead?” but yet there is a secret uneasiness in the corners of his conscience: a man who has come through such extraordinary fortunes cannot be free from superstition. His vaunted ingenuity suggests that even the apparent failure of the prophecy may be its fulfilment (969). There it is that Jocasta plays Eve to his Adam; she leads him into downright contempt : “The man who takes no account of these things carries his life most easily.”ı Within a few lines the revelation begins which is to confound the conceit of human selfsufficiency in horror. The moral of Edipus is the downfall of ißpes—not the moral or political üßpes, but the intellectual. Edipus a blind beggar, and Jocasta swinging from the beam of her bedchamber, are the testimony to the truth of μαντική. .
Creon is made to point the same moral in Antigone. He exemplifies not only the moral üßpıs (like Agamemnon and Menelaus in Ajax), which flouts the sacred claims of burial, but the intellectual, which scoffs at the supernatural. Look at the ironical repetition of the words μάντις, μαντικόν, in Creon's dialogue with Teiresias. It is the same si the practical 10. T., 982.
mind' of Creon reads imposture and intrigue v between the lines of Teiresias' warnings. The death of wife and son teaches him the lesson.
Sophocles has strongly developed the humility which is the bottom of religion—the proud humility; in Aeschylus it is rather a dignified fear
τα μεν διδακτά μανθάνω, τα δ' εύρετά
ζητώ, τα δ' έτερα παρά θεοίς ήτησάμην-1 a justification, says Plutarch, who quotes the words from a lost play, of eyßovlía—precisely the virtue of which Teiresias deplores the lack in Creon; and Creon does not understand his evßovlía as a religious virtue, but takes him to allege want of ppóvnois, 'common sense. optoBouría is the attribute of Themis, which contrasts with her aimuuntas tais, Prometheus, in Aeschylus.
Sophocles has a more reasoned mysticism in his religion than Aeschylus, less purely symbolic. His mind is of the credo quia impossibile order, as far as is possible for a Greek to be. His dogmatism infuriated the tolerant indifferentism of Plutarch in the famous fragment? (Extra Ecclesiam nulla Salus) about the Sacraments of Eleusis, “Thrice blessed are they among men who see these mysteries
i Fr., 731.
2 Fr., 753
before they enter into Death: they alone have a life beyond, but for all others there is misery beyond.” He held a priesthood himself, and was thought to be favoured with supernatural intercourse by Asclepius.
In their whole view of uavtik” and the supernatural the Sophists were of two schools : Socrates stood apart from the intellectuals who denied all truth in this sphere, and called them madmen-or rather possessed; dainovāv is the word. In this matter his opinions, as recorded in the first chapter of the Memorabilia, are nearly in agreement with Sophocles. I am not sure he would not have agreed with Sophocles in accepting a supernatural rather than an utilitarian sanction for the moral law. The great contrast between Sophocles and Euripides here is that Sophocles' whole theory is consistent, given a dogmatic premiss; Euripides halts between two opinions—the poet is fighting with the rationalist; he has no creed to satisfy his moral and his æsthetic sense.
Sophocles' doctrine? of intercessory prayer would be foolishness to Euripides : it stands on the same humility as fundamental in religion. He holds that by virtue of charity one soul can worship for many: it would be a form of üßpis, intellectual self-conceit, to exclude the efficacy
1 0. C., 497
of vicarious intercession. c/vous Yuxu is Charity, here and where he asserts 1
“ A charitable and righteous-minded soul
Is more inventive than the subtlest wits.”
Under his mysticism we must consider also the superstitious fascination which burial, the ceremonies of burial, exercised over him. We judge him of course by about a twentieth part of his work-a caution necessary to be remembered in all these attempted intuitions of his thought—but it is notable that in three out of the seven plays burial is a leading motive-> Antigone and Edipus Coloneus and Ajax, and present also in a fourth, Electra. We think of the translation of Theseus' bones from Scyros by Cimon, and of the bones of Orestes giving victory to Sparta against Tegea. But the grave of Edipus is to be a pledge of victory to Athens—not that he is an Attic hero. Upon some village legend about CEdipus' tomb Sophocles seems to have fitted the conception that a man guilty of most horrible crimes (not guilty in intention, but not guiltless since his pride and self-sufficiency were the means by which Fate overtook him), but repentant and pardoned by Heaven, becomes sanctified. The Euripidean School would have advocated the i Fr., 98.
2 Her., i. 68.
claims of the ninety and nine just persons and blasphemed the vengeful gods. So Hippolytus. But in Edipus there is no blaspheming and reproaching
'Απόλλων τάδ' ήν 'Απόλλων,
he cries at the end of Edipus Rex, but there is
τίς αν προσεύχοιτ' ; ; he is humble. And in Edipus Coloneus he appears as a person sacred by the protection of Apollo. Aeschylus had softened the doctrine of the implacability of Gods in the reconciliation of Prometheus Luomenos ; but in a wholly different sense.
There it is the suzerainty of Destiny over Zeus and Prometheus which reconciles. Here it is (Edipus repenting, Apollo forgiving ; yet repenting is hardly the right word for Edipus, who firmly maintains that he has done no wilful wrong. He bows to the law; he is as perfect a type of the abnegation of spiritual pride as Paganism admits; and holiness attaches to him, stained as he is, and offending in his physical ghastliness against the Greek adoration of beauty everywhere, manifested whether in form or in spirit—as the selected martyr to the divine law.
If Sophocles is permeated with the sweet