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ANTIGONE 86 Evidently when he wrote this, Sophocles had as yet no thought of the Colonean part of the story. 87 i.e. her dead brothers, or perhaps (by an euphemistic plural) Polyneices alone. 88 There, i.e. by the usual Greek idiom, in death. 89 The religious obligation of burial. 30 The mystical turn of phrase suits with Antigone's state of spiritual exaltation. 91 Admirably in character : a vulgar dramatist would have made her bind Ismene to secrecy.
92 i.e. enthusiasm in an unpromising cause. 93 The etymological meaning of the name Polyneices. So in Queen Elizabeth's poem
“ The Daughter of Debate,
That eke discord doth sow of Mary Queen of Scots. 94 See 74.95 This stanza and the next Turn specially refer to Capaneus, taken as type of the assaulting army. See Polyneices' catalogue of the Seven (p. 116 of this volume) and Jebb's note on 0. C. 1319. 96 Literally, “ Ares, that off trace-horse.” The Greek felt nothing undignified in this common metaphor for a helper at need (see Aesch. Agamemnon, 842).
97 Zeus Tropaios. 98 Eteocles and Polyneices. 99 i.e. Thebes, cf. p. 174. Critias (fr. 1) attributes the invention of the chariot to Thebes. 100 The subtlety of Greek can equivocate between Town' and kindred in such words as αυτόχειρ and φίλος, cf. p. 191:
“ Mes. Haemon, by hands familiar overthrown.
Chor. By the hand of his father, or his own ?' 101 The proverb, “ Office shews the man," was attributed to Bias and others of the Seven Sages. ie,
just enough to constitute a formal burying and so escape the defilement of passing by an unburied corpse (v. the authorities collected by Jebb on Ant. 255). 103 i.e. a disaffected party in Thebes. rhetorical patch of Euripidean sophism (like the passage between Creon and the Messenger presently, and like the dialogue between Creon and Haemon, pp. 164, 165) is characteristic of Sophocles' earlier manner, exemplified also in Ajax. The later plays are singularly pure from such matter ; in particular, it is the admirable relevancy of every line which makes dipus Rex his masterpiece. 105 Perhaps an echo of Prodicus the Sophist, who first articulated the differences between synonyms,' and drew out antitheses of opinion' and afterthought,' 'guessing' and certainty,' &c. 106 The course of thought in this chorus is, first, the marvellous ingenuity and power of man; next, the degeneration of these talents into knavery. 107 Her doctrine is that human law is circumscribed by divine law; when it transgresses this major obligation it loses validity. 108 Theirs -- the dead. 109 The dust which Antigone sprinkled on her brother by way of burial is bloody because it causes her death. 110 Surmise. 'Eatis includes in Greek all our several notions of hope, belief, anticipation, surmise. 111 Quem perdere vult Deus, prius dementat is taken from an anonymous Greek tragic fragment quoted here by the Schol. :
όταν δ' ο δαίμων ανδρί πορσύνη κακά
τον νούν έβλαψε πρώτον ο βουλεύεται (v. Jebb's Appendix). 112 A cant phrase like our
gospel-truth.' 113 That, technically, she may not be starved to death. Jebb cites the usage of allotting a
dole to a vestal virgin at Rome when she was buried alive (Plutarch, Num. 10). 114 Niobe, daughter of Tantalus, queen to Amphion of Thebes. For a discussion of the Niobe in the rock on Mt. Sipylus, see Jebb's note on 831. 115 See 99.
116 Venture, by a common ironical euphemism for sin. The doctrine of heredity in guilt is, I think, invariably reserved for lyrics, and not introduced among dramatic motifs of the first order, except in a perfunctory hint like 0.C. 965. Professor Butcher has shewn how much its influence, even upon Aeschylus, has been exaggerated. 117 That is, the service rendered to Polyneices is a kind of service rendered to God.
118 Eteocles. 119 The bracketed verses are perhaps not from the hand of Sophocles, unless we have here one of those “unaccountable lapses” with which the author of The Sublime taxes him. The verbal evidence (which decisively condemns a similar rhetorical amplification in Ajax) is slightly against their authenticity. But the thought is derived from Sophocles' favourite Herodotus; and the lines stood in the text as early as Aristotle's day, who cites them in illustration of a canon of rhetoric. From Sophocles' finished work we might strike them out unhesitatingly, but there are other passages in Antigone which shew that the sophistic influence was peculiarly strong upon him when he wrote this play. Certainly the passage is better without them : they fall coldly across the midst of her passionate parting speech.
120 General theme—the cruelty of Fate upon the guiltless and the guilty. Two examples point to Antigone, a third (Lycurgus) prepares for Creon's punishment. 121 Lycurgus, King of Thrace, who played the same part as
Pentheus at Thebes in resisting the cult of Dionysus. From its kinship with Dionysian origins, there was no more favourite subject of tragedy. According to one version, he was imprisoned in bonds of vine; if Sophocles followed this account, “bonds of stone” will mean “ bonds stiff as stone”: so the Scholiast. 122 “ Phineus married Cleopatra, daughter of Boreas and Oreithuia, and by her had two sons, whose names are variously given. After her death he married Idaea, daughter of Dardanus, or, according to another account, Eidothea, sister of Cadmus. She treacherously blinded Cleopatra's sons, and imprisoned them in a tomb ” (Apollodorus). 123 Unwed for unhappily wed, probably ; but the expression is obscure and equivocal, and the many variants of the legend make it even more doubtful. 124 Oreithuia, her mother, was daughter to Erechtheus, King of Attica. 125 An alloy of gold with silver. 126 The Gods of Heaven do not concern themselves with burial, which is the Undergods' (Pluto, Hecate, &c.) province; but now they are provoked by Creon's outrage, and the Erinues will pursue him by their commission as well as the commission of the Gods of Hades.
127 For not only Polyneices, but the foreign invaders with whom he was leagued, had been left unburied. Sophocles alludes to the favourite Athenian legend of the Supplices, at whose request Theseus forced the Thebans to accord burial to the dead Argives (see Jebb's Note and Appendix). 198 Literally, “those of you who are there and those who are not.” I have tried to imitate this forcible absurdity. 120 See 36. Creon has yielded ! The Chorus return to the point of mind where they were at the end of the first chorus
(p. 145), and call upon Bacchus to come and lead the rejoicings in victorious Thebes. 130 Demeter, because Iacchus shared with her in the Mysteries.. the Corycian cave on Mount Parnassus, see Aesch. Eum. 22.
132 Almost in every country where Dionysus was worshipped there was a Nysa to justify his
Here it is in Euboea. 133 Semelê. 134 The Euripus. 135 The elements share in the Dionysiac exultation (Eur. Ion. 1078). 136 Hecate. . 137 “ The kind of tomb which the poet here imagines is perhaps best represented in Greece by the rock tombs of Nauplia and of Spata in Attica. These consist of chambers worked horizontally into the rock, and approached by a passage or Opópos, answering to that which Creon's men have to traverse before they reach the otóulov of the tomb” (Jebb). 138 i.e. foolish in his would-be wisdom. 139 As it were a current account and a deposit account of misfortunes. Such is the man's homely trade metaphor. 140 Megareus or Menoeceus was Haemon's only brother, who devoted himself, as one descended from the Dragon stock, to appease the anger of Ares against Thebes (see Eur. Phoen. 930 foll., and Statius' Thebais, x. 589). 141 Creon plays to Edipus (p. 61) the part that the Chorus here plays to him.