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1446 The dialogue between sister and brother illustrates her affection for him, and thus strengthens the link (1405 ff.) between this play and the Antigone. It has, however, a further dramatic purpose. The version of the paternal curse adopted by Sophocles tended to suggest this question to the spectator:—Why should Polyneices persevere in the war, when his defeat and death had been definitely foretold to him? For he plainly believes the prediction (cp. 1407, 1435), though he affects to think that there is a chance of escape (1444). The answer is furnished by the traits of his character which this dialogue brings out. They give the “ἠθικὴ πίστις” for a course which might otherwise have seemed improbable.

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