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παῖ, said to the Messenger. It has been objected that, at such a time, Creon could not use those words except with reference to Haemon (as in 1266, 1340). From a modern literary point of view, the objection is just. But we should remember how very familiar “ παῖ” actually was as a mode of address, whether by elders to juniors, or by masters to slaves. Here it is used, not as to a slave, but merely as to a younger man; there is in it a certain pathetic appeal for sympathy. (Cp. “ παῖ, τέκνον”, as said by the Messenger to Oed. in O. T. 1008, 1030.) Enger's conjecture, “ τίν᾽

αὖ” (instead of “ παῖ τίνα”), has not much palaeographical probability. It gives, indeed, a closer correspondence with 1266. But the form of dochmiac which the MS. reading gives here is equally correct. (See Analysis. Met.) Seidler was certainly right in omitting “λόγον” (see cr. n.): and that remedy suffices.

Construe: τίνα νέον σφάγιον γυναικεῖον μόρον λέγεις ἀμφικεῖσθαί μοι ἐπ᾽ ὀλέθρῳ, ‘what new death,’—the bloody death of a woman,—dost thou describe as heaped on destruction (i.e., superadded to Haemon's death), for my sorrow (“μοι”)?' (Cp. 595πήματα φθιτῶν ἐπὶ πήμασι πίπτοντ᾽”.) “γυναικεῖον γυναικός”: cp. Aesch. Pers. 8νόστῳ τῷ βασιλείῳ”.—The notion expressed by “ἀμφικεῖσθαι ἐπ᾽ ὀλέθρῳ” seems to be, strictly, that of death entwined with death, like corpse embracing corpse (1240). The verb “ἀμφικεῖσθαι” prop.=‘to be set around’ (as a wall round a city). Perhaps the bold phrase here was partly prompted by the fact that persons embracing each other could be described (O. C. 1620 n.) as “ἐπ᾽ ἀλλήλοισιν ἀμφικείμενοι”. I prefer this view.

But another version is possible, if “μοι” is taken with “ἀμφικεῖσθαι”: ‘besetting me,’ “ἐπ᾽ ὀλέθρῳ”, for (my) ruin. Cp. 1285τί μ᾽ ὀλέκεις”; For “ἐπί”, cp. Thuc. 4.86οὐκ ἐπὶ κακῷ, ἐπ᾽ ἐλευθερώσει δέ”. The difficulty is that “ἀμφικεῖσθαι” cannot well be said of one sorrow (Eurydicè's death), and that, therefore, we have to evolve from the epithet “νέον” the notion of a circle of woes of which this “μόρος” is one. Thus the image would be much more obscurely expressed than that in Ai. 351, “ἴδεσθέ μ᾽ οἷον ἄρτι κῦμα φοινίας ὑπὸ ζάλης ἀμφίδρομον κυκλεῖται”, (‘behold what a surge hath but now burst around me and hemmed me in, under stress of a deadly storm,’) where Ajax is sitting in the midst of the carnage which he has wrought. It is altogether improbable that “ἀμφικεῖσθαι” alludes to Eurydicè's corpse having been brought (by the “ἐκκύκλημα”) into such a position that Creon stood between it and Haemon's. See 1298, where Creon speaks of her as being “ἔναντα”.


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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Aeschylus, Persians, 8
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 351
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1285
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 595
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1620
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 1008
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.86
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