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reasonableness which M. Arnold makes the essence of Atticism, it comes up in his style as the 'sweetness and light' which M. Arnold borrowed from Swift to express the quality of Hellenism. He has in fulness the temper for want of which men kill themselves or forswear thinking for fear of its consequences; the temper which digests contradictions and harmonises all things. This temper takes shape in his favourite virtues.
evßovlía we have seen is the text of Antigone.' το φρονείν της ευδαιμονίας πρώτον (the same ppovelv—'to have the light' that Teiresias speaks of in Edipus Rex). eúßoulía is a special determination of it; the quality which reconciles the conflict of State right and individual right, of duty to human law and duty to divine; or,
you prefer, which prevents their collisions. It is like the later conception of ėmlelketa ; our own equivalent, the constitutional feeling which supplements the deficiencies of law and curtails its extravagances.
Tolerance is the doctrine eloquently urged by Haemon in Antigone, especially in the passage :
“ Wear not within yourself one single mood,
One rule and one alone of rectitude.” 2 To the same tune are the praises of Patience inculcated by the Trachinian women, with the
2 Ant., 705 and 723.
1 Ant., 1350
upon that mutability of things which Sophocles repeatedly handled with fresh graces. We have them again in the mouth of Neoptolemus;? and akin also is the patient faith in Providence spoken by Edipus.
These are all virtues which suit well with our conception of Sophocles' temper as a mellow compound of tenderness and right reason.
For this note of tenderness or pitifulness there are evidences in plenty: take Deianira for one example.*
Sophocles does not call life a disease, but he knows the qualities which make a good patient. Let us return for a moment to the special application of evBovdía as the virtue which harmonises the relations of State and Individual. We have seen that the main thought which we may analyse out of Antigone is this conflict between rights of Law and the rights of individual Conscience. The problem-to use our mean analytic word : to Sophocles it is not as a problem to be solved, but a marvel among marvels to be recreated in a form of art—the problem, however, seems to have fascinated his attention. Agamemnon, in Ajax, formulates State right in naked brutality : τον τοι τύραννον evdeßeiv où pädiov, “A king cannot well be a saint,” and shortly after he states the duty of
2 Phil., 192. 1 Trach., 125; Aj., 666.
5 Ai., 1350. 3 0. C., 277 seq.
4 Trach, 296 and 436.
passive obedience. In this play, comparatively crude in workmanship as it is, Agamemnon is a → crude type of what the Athenian detested in tyranny. The Creon of Antigone is no such stage villain : the beauty of the tragedy partly depends upon this, that he is not a bad man nor a bad king, only wanting in the saving grace of eusoudía. Here is his doctrine summarised :
“You cannot understand a man's heart and temper and wit,” until it be proved by familiarity with law and authority. A king must grasp the best counsel ; if he keep silence from fear of any man, he is a rogue : nothing so near and dear that it may come between him and public duty.” And public duty is the ground of distinction drawn between the funeral honours rendered to Eteocles and the casting-out of Polyneices.
Creon says to Antigone, “Are you not ashamed to differ from public opinion ?”Her appeal to the άγραπτα κάσφαλή νόμιμα και 1s mere üßpıs to Creon; as though one should plead conscience to an attorney. Law is absolute, authority infallible: that is his position clearly laid down:
“What man the State appoints thou shalt obey
E'en in the least, be't right or t’other way.”
? Ant., 180.
s Ant., 510.
with a narrower egoism : the patriot is part of Creon's character in all three plays, but we must divest the word of every romantic association, and clothe it in the significances which the term patriot carries when applied by a party newspaper to a party leader. Neoptolemus says—?
πόλις γάρ έστι πάσα των ηγουμένων
στρατός τε σύμπας. . It is the fault of their governments when men go wrong. Yet later he yields :
των γαρ εν τέλει κλύειν το το ενδικόν
και το συμφερον ποεϊ.3 Right and expediency combine to sanction obedience to authority, and Neoptolemus is Sophocles' incarnation of the chivalrous spirit in contrast with the politic.
Fr. 618 is against demagogues who make right and sober-sense to be trampled under foot;4 Fr. 194 argues for freedom of speech.
Even dismissing the anecdotes related of Sophocles which allege his participation in politics, we may judge that the Periclean system-democracy under a
very powerful president-satisfied him as likeliest to keep the human and divine code, the general and the individual charter of right from collision ; which only a strong element of personality in government will achieve. He was keenly alive to the dangers of consecrating administrative right-much in the way that M. Arnold reproaches our race for idolising machinery to the neglect of the spirit
Phil., 385. 3 Phil., 926.
i 0. C., 759.
4 Fr., 618.
το τοι νομισθεν της αληθειας κρατεί.1 But he feared the excesses of the later democracy more.
There is nothing improbable in the story that he approved the reaction of the CCCC as the least of possible evils: it was a revolution made by thinking men.
And he says in the speech of Creon before cited, avapxías γαρ μείζον ουκ έστιν κακόν :3 the eloquent heat of the passage seems to show that it is his own thought, though spoken by Creon.
But his nature was fundamentally unpolitical, too fine for politics, too deeply impregnated with the sense of human futility to take politics seriously at all times. The sum of his political philosophy is—
η φρόνησις αγαθή μέγας θεός,3 and
η δε μωρία μάλιστ' αδελφή της πονηρίας έφυ.4 The divine law is always more really present
2 Ant., 668. 4 Fr., 840.
1 Fr., 84. 3 Fr., 837