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Enter Creon, with two attendants.

Creon
[162] My fellow citizens! First, the gods, after tossing the fate of our city on wild waves, have once more righted it. Second, I have ordered you through my messengers to come here [165] apart from all the rest, because I knew, first of all, how constant was your reverence for the power of the throne of Laius; how, again, you were reverent, when Oedipus was guiding our city; and lastly, how, when he was dead, you still maintained loyal thoughts towards his children. [170] Since, then, these latter have fallen in one day by a twofold doom—each striking, each struck, both with the stain of a brother's murder—I now possess all the power and the throne according to my kinship with the dead. [175] Now, it is impossible to know fully any man's character, will, or judgment, until he has been proved by the test of rule and law-giving. For if anyone who directs the entire city does not cling to the best and wisest plans, [180] but because of some fear keeps his lips locked, then, in my judgment, he is and has long been the most cowardly traitor. And if any man thinks a friend more important than his fatherland, that man, I say, is of no account. Zeus, god who sees all things always, be my witness— [185] I would not be silent if I saw ruin, instead of safety, marching upon the citizens. Nor would I ever make a man who is hostile to my country a friend to myself, because I know this, that our country is the ship that bears us safe, and that only when [190] we sail her on a straight course can we make true friends. Such are the rules by which I strengthen this city. Akin to these is the edict which I have now published to the citizenry concerning the sons of Oedipus: Eteocles, who fell fighting [195] in behalf of our city and who excelled all in battle, they shall entomb and heap up every sacred offering that descends to the noblest of the dead below. But as for his brother, Polyneices, I mean, who on his return from exile wanted to burn to the ground [200] the city of his fathers and his race's gods, and wanted to feed on kindred blood and lead the remnant into slavery—it has been proclaimed to the city that no one shall give him funeral honors or lamentation, [205] but all must leave him unburied and a sight of shame, with his body there for birds and dogs to eat. This is my will, and never will I allow the traitor to stand in honor before the just. But whoever has good will to Thebes, [210] he shall be honored by me in death as in life.

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hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (5):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 367
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 392
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 80
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 1014
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 954
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