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The internal evidence of the Antigone confirms the
Internal evidence for an early date.
belief that it is the earliest of the extant seven. Certain traits of composition distinguish it. (1) The division of an iambic trimeter between two or more speakers—technically called “ἀντιλαβή”—is avoided, as it is by Aeschylus. It is admitted in the other six plays. (2) An anapaest nowhere holds the first place of the trimeter. It may further be noticed that the resolution of any foot of the trimeter is comparatively rare in the Antigone. Including the proper names, there are less than 40 instances. A considerably higher proportion is found in later plays. (3) The use made of anapaestic verse is archaistic in three points. (a) The Parodos contains regular anapaestic systems (see note on vv. 100-161). (b) The Chorus uses anapaests in announcing the entrance of Creon, Antigone, Ismene, Haemon. In the case of Ismene, these anapaests do not follow the stasimon, but occur in the midst of the epeisodion (see vv. 526-530). (c) Anapaests are also admitted, for purposes of dialogue, within an epeisodion (vv. 929-943, where the Chorus, Creon, and Antigone are the speakers). Aeschylus allowed this; but elsewhere it occurs only in the Ajax of Sophocles (another comparatively early play), and in the Medea of Euripides (431 B.C.).

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431 BC (1)
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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 526
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 929
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