Seidler transposes vv. 663—667, placing them after 671. The object is to bring vv. 668—671 into immediate connection with 662. In this there is one slight grammatical gain; since, as the vv. stand in the MSS., “τοῦτον ...τὸνἄνδρα” (668) means, ‘the man who acts thus’ (viz., as described in vv. 666 f.). But the order given in the MSS. is right. The transposition obliterates one of the finest touches in the speech. Creon demands that the obedience of the citizens to the ruler shall be absolute (666 f.). And then he supplements this demand with a remark on the dignity of such obedience. The man who so obeys gives the best proof that he could also rule (668 ff.). Seidler destroys the point of vv. 668 ff. by placing them after 662.
The connection of thought in the whole passage—which is slightly obscured by compression—may be most clearly shown by taking the verses in small consecutive groups. (1) 659 f. If I tolerate disloyalty
in my own relatives, I shall encourage it in other citizens. (2) 661 f. For (“γάρ”) only a man who is firm (“χρηστός”) where his own relatives are concerned will be found to uphold justice in the State (i.e. will have the authority necessary for doing so). (3) 663 f. Now, I recognise disloyalty in any one who breaks the law and defies the government, as Antigone has done. (4) 666 f. Instead of so doing, the citizen is bound to obey the government in everything. (5) 668—671. There is nothing slavish in that; on the contrary, it shows that the citizen is not only a good subject, but would, if required, be a good ruler;—as he would also be a good soldier.—Then comes the general censure on unruliness (672—676). And then the conclusion:—I must vindicate my authority, and punish Antigone (677 —680).
Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments, with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose. Part III: The Antigone. Sir Richard C. Jebb. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 1900.
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