The Oedipus Tyrannus is concerned with the fall of the Theban king; the Coloneus, with the close of his life; and the Antigone, with a later episode in the fortunes of his children. But the order of composition was, Antigone, Tyrannus, Coloneus; and the first was separated from the last by perhaps more than thirty years of the poet's life. The priority of the Antigone admits of a probable explanation, which is not without interest. There is some ground for thinking that the subject—though not the treatment—was suggested by Aeschylus.

The sisters Antigone and Ismene are not mentioned by

Earliest trace of the story.
Homer, Hesiod, or Pindar1. Antigone's heroism presupposes a legend that burial had been refused to Polyneices. Pindar knows nothing of such a refusal. He speaks of the seven funeral pyres provided at Thebes for the seven divisions of the Argive army2. Similarly Pausanias records a Theban legend that the corpse of Polyneices was burned on the same pyre with that of Eteocles, and that the very flames refused to mingle3. The refusal of burial was evidently an Attic addition to the story. It served to contrast Theban vindictiveness with Athenian humanity; for it was Theseus who ultimately buried the Argives at Eleusis. If Creon's edict, then, was an Attic invention, it may be conjectured that Antigone's resolve to defy the edict was also the conception of an Attic poet. Aeschylus is the carliest author who refers to the edict against burial, and he is also the first who tells of Antigone's resolve. His Theban trilogy consisted of the Laïus, the Oedipus, and the Seven against Thebes4. At the end of the last play a herald proclaims an edict just published by the Council of Thebes; sepulture shall be given to Eteocles, but denied to Polyneices. Antigone at once declares her resolve; she will bury Polyneices. The Theban maidens who form the Chorus are divided. One half of their number goes to attend the funeral of Eteocles; the other half accompanies Antigone to her task. There the play ends.

The situation,
The Aeschylean situation—contrast with the Sophoclean.
as it is thus left by the Seven against Thebes, is essentially different from that in the play of Sophocles. The Antigone of Aeschylus is not isolated in her action, but is escorted by a band of maidens who publicly avow their sympathy. Though the herald enters a formal protest, and hints that the rulers are likely to be ‘severe,’ yet he does not say that death is to be the price of disobedience, nor, indeed, does he specify any penalty. The Chorus represents average civic opinion; and one half of the Chorus openly defies the decree. A plot which began thus could scarcely end in the Council taking the heroine's life. It rather foreshadows a final solution which shall be favourable to her; and we might surmise that, in loosing the knot, Aeschylus would have resorted to a divine mandate or intervention. But the Antigone of Sophocles stands alone; the penalty of a dreadful death is definitely set before her; and, whatever the Thebans may think of Creon's edict, no one dares to utter a word of disapproval. Taking the two primary facts—the veto, and Antigone's resolve— Sophocles has worked in a manner which is characteristically his own.

Let us first trace the outline of the action.
Analysis of the play. I. Prologue: 1-99.
The scene is laid before the palace of Creon,—once that of Oedipus,—at Thebes. The city has just been delivered from a great peril. It had been besieged by an Argive army, the allies of the exile Polyneices, whom his brother Eteocles had driven out of Thebes, that he himself might be sole king. But on the day before that with which the play begins, the two brothers had slain each other in single fight. Besides Polyneices, six other leaders of the besiegers had been killed by as many Theban chiefs. Thus deprived of its commanders, the besieging host had fled, panic-stricken, in the night.

It is the moment of dawn. Antigone has asked her sister Ismene to come forth with her from the house, in order that they may converse alone. Creon, their uncle, is now king. He has put forth an edict,—that Eteocles, the champion of Thebes, shall be honourably buried; but the body of Polyneices, the country's foe, shall be left on the plain outside the walls of Thebes, for dogs and birds to mangle at their will. If any citizen dares to disobey, he shall be stoned to death. Antigone tells her sister that she is resolved to defy this edict, and to bury their brother Polyneices. Ismene vainly seeks to dissuade her; and Antigone goes forth, alone, to do the deed.

The Chorus of fifteen Theban elders now enters. Creon has

Parodos: 100-161.
summoned them to meet him,—they do not yet know wherefore. They greet the rising sun, and, in a splendid ode, describe the danger from which Thebes has been saved. The dramatic effect of the ode is to make us feel how grievous, from a Theban point of view, has been the act of Polyneices.

Creon comes forth. Declaring his resolve that patriotism and

II. First episode: 162-331.
treason shall never miss their due rewards, he acquaints the Chorus with the purport of his edict,—that Eteocles shall be honoured, and Polyneices dishonoured. The elders receive the decision with unquestioning respect; though their words are more suggestive of acquiescence than of approval.

A guard arrives, with the startling news that unknown hands have already paid burial rites to Polyneices, by the symbolical act of sprinkling dust on the corpse. Creon dismisses the man with threats of a terrible death, which the other guards shall share, if they fail to discover the men who have thus broken the edict.

The choral ode which follows

First stasimon: 332-375. Anapaests, 376-383.
is a beautiful treatment of a theme which this mysterious deed suggests,—human inventiveness,—its audacity and its almost infinite resource, save for the limits set by fate. As these strains cease, anapaests spoken by the leader of the Chorus express sudden amazement and pain.—Antigone, the royal maiden, the niece of the king, is led in, a prisoner, in the hands of the guard.

Questioned by Creon,

III. Second episode: 384-581.
Antigone replies that she knew the edict, but nevertheless paid funeral rites to her brother because she held that no human law could supersede the higher law of the gods. She is ready to die.

Creon, still more incensed by her demeanour, vows that she shall indeed perish by a shameful death. He suspects Ismene also; and she is presently brought in. Agonised by grief for her sister's impending doom, Ismene entreats that she may be considered as sharing the responsibility of the deed; she wishes to die with her sister. Antigone firmly and even sternly, though not bitterly, rejects this claim, which ‘justice will not allow’; the deed has been hers only. Ismene vainly seeks to move Creon; he is not touched by her despair, or by the thought—to which Ismene also appeals—that his son Haemon is betrothed to Antigone. He orders that both sisters shall be taken into the house, and closely guarded; for his present purpose is that both shall die.

Second stasimon: 582-625. Anapaests, 626-630.
Moved by the sentence which has just been passed, the Chorus speaks of the destiny which has pursued the royal line of Thebes: ‘When a house hath once been shaken from heaven, there the curse fails nevermore.’ The sisters were the last hope of the race; and now they too must perish. The ode closes with a strain of general reflection on the power of Zeus and the impotence of human self-will. There is no conscious reference to Creon; but, for the spectators, the words are suggestive and ominous.

IV. Third episode: 631-780.
Haemon enters. He has come to plead with his father for the life of his betrothed Antigone. This scene is one of the finest in the play. A lesser dramatist would have been apt to depict Haemon as passionately agitated. The Haemon of Sophocles maintains an entire calm and self-control so long as a ray of hope remains; his pleading is faultless in tone and in tact; he knows Creon, and he does not intercede with him as a lover for his betrothed; he speaks as a son solicitous for his father's reputation, and as a subject concerned for the authority of his king; he keeps his temper under stinging taunts; it is only when Creon is found to be inexorable that the pent-up fire at last flashes out. Then, when Haemon rushes forth,—resolved, as his latest words hint, not to survive his beloved,—he leaves with the spectators a profound sense of the supreme effort which he has made in a cause dearer to him than life, and has made without success.

Haemon having quitted the scene, Creon announces, in reply to a question of the Chorus, the mode of death which he designs for Antigone. As for Ismene, he will spare her; her entire innocence has been proved, to his calmer thoughts, by the words which passed between the sisters in his presence. Antigone is to be immured in a sepulchral chamber,—one of the rock-tombs in the low hills that fringe the plain of Thebes,—and there she is to be left, with only the formal dole of food which religion prescribes, in order to avert the pollution which the State would otherwise incur through the infliction of death by starvation.

A choral song celebrates the power of Love,—as seen in

Third stasimon: 781-800. Anapaests 801-805.
Haemon, who has not feared to confront a father's anger in pleading for one who has broken the law. While implying that Haemon has acted amiss, the ode also palliates his action by suggesting that the deity who swayed him is irresistible. At the same time this reference to Haemon's passion serves to deepen the pathos of Antigone's fate.

She is now brought out of the house by Creon's servants,

V. Fourth episode: 806-943.
who are to conduct her to her living tomb. At that sight, the Theban elders cry that pity constrains them, even as love constrained Haemon, to deplore the sentence. Antigone speaks to them of her fate, and they answer not unkindly; yet they say plainly that the blame for her doom rests with herself alone; the king could not grant impunity to a breach of his edict. Creon enters, and reproves the guards for their delay. In her latest words, Antigone expresses her confidence in the love which awaits her beyond the grave; and also the trouble which overclouds her trust in the gods, who knew her deed, and yet have permitted her to suffer this doom. Then she is led forth, and is seen no more.

Fourth stasimon: 944-987.
The rocky tomb to which she is passing suggests the theme of a choral ode, commemorating three other sufferers of a cruel imprisonment,—Danaë, Lycurgus, and Cleopatra.

VI. Fifth episode: 988-1114.
As the choral strains cease, the blind and aged prophet Teiresias is led in by a boy. He comes with an urgent warning for the king. The gods are wroth with Thebes; they will no longer give their prophet any sign by the voice of birds, or through the omens of sacrifice. The king is himself the cause, by his edict. Carrion-creatures have defiled the altars of Thebes with the taint of the unburied dead. Let burial rites be at once paid to Polyneices. He speaks for Creon's own good.

Here we pause for a moment to answer a question which naturally occurs to the modern reader. Why is Polyneices said to be still unburied? Has not Antigone already rendered burial rites to him; is it not precisely for that action that she is dying? Antigone had, indeed, given symbolical sepulture to Polyneices by sprinkling dust upon the corpse, and pouring libations. The performance of that act discharged her personal duty towards the dead and the gods below; it also saved her dead brother from the dishonour (which would else have been a reproach to him in the other world) of having been neglected by his nearest kinsfolk on earth. But Antigone's act did not clear Creon. Creon's duty to the dead and to the gods below was still unperformed. So far as Creon was concerned, Polyneices was still unburied. And Creon's obligation could not be discharged, as Antigone's had been, merely by the symbolical act, which religion accepted only when a person was unavoidably hindered from performing regular rites. There was nothing to hinder Creon from performing such rites. These were still claimed from him. After Antigone's tribute had been rendered, birds and dogs had been busy with the corpse. Creon's duty to the dead and to the gods below was now also a duty towards the polluted State, from which his impiety had alienated the gods above.

In reply to the friendly and earnest warning of Teiresias, Creon angrily accuses the seer of mercenary complicity in a disloyal plot; malcontent Thebans wish to gain a triumph over their king by frightening him into a surrender. Never will be grant burial rites to Polyneices.

Teiresias, angered in his turn, then declares the penalty which the gods reserve for such obduracy. With the life of his own son shall Creon atone for his twofold sin,—the detention of the dead among the living, and the imprisonment of the living in the abode of the dead. The seer then departs.

Creon is deeply moved. In the course of long and eventful years he has learned a lesson which is present also to the minds of the Theban elders. The word of Teiresias has never failed to come true.

After a hurried consultation with the Chorus, Creon's resolve is taken. He will yield. He immediately starts, with his servants, for the upper part of the Theban plain, where the body of Polyneices is still lying,—not very far, it would seem, from the place of Antigone's prison.

At this point an objection might suggest itself to the spectator. Is there not something a little improbable in the celerity with which Creon,—hitherto inflexible,—is converted by the threats of a seer whom he has just been denouncing as a venal impostor? Granting that experience had attested the seer's infallibility when speaking in the name of the gods, has not Creon professed to believe that, in this instance, Teiresias is merely the mouthpiece of disloyal Thebans? The answer will be found by attentively observing the state of mind which, up to this point, has been portrayed in Creon. He has, indeed, been inflexible; he has even been vehement in asserting his inflexibility. But, under this vehemence, we have been permitted to see occasional glimpses of an uneasy conscience. One such glimpse is at vv. 889 f., where he protests that his hands are clean in regard to Antigone;—he had given her full warning, and he has not shed her blood,—‘but at any rate’ (“δ᾽ οὖν”,—i.e., wherever the guilt rests)—‘she shall die.’ Another such trait occurs at v. 1040, where he says that he will not bury Polyneices, though the throne of Zeus in heaven should be defiled,—quickly adding, ‘for I know that no mortal can pollute the gods.’5 It may further be remarked that a latent self-mistrust is suggested by the very violence of his rejoinder to the Chorus, when they venture, with timid respect, to hint the possibility that some divine agency may have been at work in the mysterious tribute paid to Polyneices (278 f.). A like remark applies to the fury which breaks out at moments in his interviews with Haemon and with Teiresias. The delicacy of the dramatic tact which forbids these touches to be obtrusive is such as Sophocles, alone of the Attic masters, knew how to use. But they suffice to indicate the secret trembling of the balance behind those protestations of an unconquerable resolve; the terrible prophecy of Teiresias only turns the scale.

Hyporcheme (taking the place of the fifth stasimon): 1115-1154.
The Chorus is now gladdened by the hope that Creon's repentance, late though it is, may avail to avert the doom threatened by Teiresias. This feeling is expressed in a short and joyous ode, which invokes the bright presence of Dionysus. May the joyous god come with healing virtue to his favourite Thebes! The substitution of this lively dance-song (‘hyporcheme’) for a choral ode of a graver cast here serves the same purpose of contrast as in the Oedipus Tyrannus, the Ajax, and the Trachiniae. The catastrophe is approaching6.

VII. Exodos: 1155-1352.
A Messenger now enters,—one of the servants who had accompanied Creon to the plain. The words in which he briefly intimates the nature of his tidings (v. 1173) are overheard, within the house, by Eurydicè, then in the act of going forth with offerings to Pallas; and she swoons. On recovering consciousness, she comes forth, and hears the full account from the Messenger. He says that, when they reached the plain, Creon's first care was for the funeral rites due to Polyneices. After prayer to Pluto and Hecatè, the remains—lacerated by birds and dogs— were washed, and solemnly burned; a high funeral-mound was then raised on the spot. Creon and his followers then repaired to the tomb of Antigone. They found her already dead; she had used her veil to hang herself. Haemon, in a frenzied state, was embracing her corpse. He drew his sword upon his father, who fled. Then, in a swift agony of remorse, the son slew himself.

Having heard this news, Eurydicè silently retires into the house.

She has hardly withdrawn, when Creon enters, with attendants, carrying Haemon's shrouded corpse7 upon a bier. He bewails his own folly as the cause of his son's death. Amid his laments, a Messenger from the house announces that Eurydicè has stabbed herself at the household altar, with imprecations on the husband. Wholly desolate and wretched, Creon prays for death; nor has the Chorus any gentler comfort for him than the stern precept of resignation,—‘Pray thou no more; mortals have no escape from destined woe.’ As he is conducted into the house, the closing words of the drama are spoken by the leader of the Chorus: ‘Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness, and reverence towards the gods must be inviolate. Great words of prideful men are ever punished with great blows, and in old age teach the chastened to be wise.’

This sketch may serve to illustrate the powerful unity
Unity of motive.
of the play. The issue defined in the opening scene,—the conflict of divine with human law,—remains the central interest throughout. The action, so simple in plan, is varied by masterly character-drawing, both in the two principal figures, and in those lesser persons who contribute gradations of light and shade to the picture. There is no halting in the march of the drama; at each successive step we become more and more keenly interested to see how this great conflict is to end; and when the tragic climax is reached, it is worthy of such a progress. It would not,
The mode of the catastrophe.
however, be warrantable to describe the construction of the play as faultless. No one who seeks fully to comprehend and enjoy this great work of art can be content to ignore certain questions which are suggested by one part of it,—the part from v. 998 to 1243, which introduces and developes the catastrophe.

Teiresias, as we saw, came with the benevolent purpose of warning Creon that he must bury Polyneices. Creon was stubborn, and Teiresias then said that the gods would punish him. Haemon would die, because his father had been guilty of two sins,—burying Antigone alive8, and dishonouring the corpse of Polyneices. This prophecy assumed that Creon would remain obdurate. But, in the event, he immediately yielded; he buried Polyneices, and attempted, though too late, to release Antigone. Now suppose that he had been in time to save Antigone. He would then have cancelled both his offences. And then, we must infer, the divine punishment predicted by Teiresias would have been averted; since the prediction does not rest on any statement that a specific term of grace had expired. Otherwise we should have to suppose that the seer did not know the true mind of the gods when he represented that Creon might still be saved by repentance (1025 ff.). But the dramatic function of Teiresias obviously requires us to assume that he was infallible whenever he spoke from ‘the signs of his art’; indeed, the play tells us that he was so (1094).

Everything depended, then, on Creon being in time to save Antigone. Only a very short interval can be imagined between the moment at which she is led away to her tomb and that at which Creon resolves to release her; in the play it is measured by 186 verses (928-1114). The Chorus puts Creon's duties in the natural order; ‘free the maiden from her rocky chamber, and make a tomb for the unburied dead’ (1100); and Creon seems to feel that the release, as the more urgent task, ought to have precedence. Nevertheless, when he and his men arrive on the ground, his first care is given to Polyneices. After the rites have been performed, a high mound is raised. Only then does he proceed to Antigone's prison,—and then it is too late. We are not given any reason for the burial being taken in hand before the release. The dramatic fault here has nothing to do with any estimate of the chances that Creon might actually have saved Antigone's life, if he had gone to her first. The poet might have chosen to imagine her as destroying herself immediately after she had been left alone in her cell. In any case, the margin for Creon must have been a narrow one. The

The dramatic blemish.
dramatic fault is that, while we, the spectators, are anxious that Antigone should be saved, and while every moment is precious, we are left to conjecture why Creon should be spending so many of these moments in burial rites which could have been rendered equally well after Antigone had been rescued: nay, when the rites have been finished, he remains to build a mound. The source of pathos contained in the words ‘too late’ is available for Tragedy, but evidently there is one condition which must be observed. A fatal delay must not seem to be the result merely of negligence or of caprice. As Bellermann has justly said, modern drama has obeyed this rule with a heedfulness not always shown by the ancients. Shakespeare took care that there should be a good reason for the delay of Lorenzo to resuscitate Juliet; nor has Schiller, in the Death of Wallenstein, left it obscure why Octavio arrived only after Buttler's deed had been done. Euripides, on the other hand, is content that the prolixity of a Messenger's speech should detain Iocasta until the sons whom she longed to reconcile had killed each other.

With regard to Creon's delay in the Antigone, I venture
A suggested explanation.
to suggest that the true explanation is a simple one. If it seems inadequate when tried by the gauge of modern drama, it will not do so (I think) to those who remember two characteristics of old Greek drama,—first, the great importance of the rhetorical element, more particularly as represented by the speeches of messengers; secondly, the occasional neglect of clearness, and even of consistency, in regard to matters which either precede the action of the drama (“τὰ ἔξω τῆς τραγῳδίας”), or, though belonging to the drama itself, occur off the stage. The speech of the first Messenger in the Antigone (1192-1243) relates the catastrophe with which the tragedy culminates. Its effect was therefore of the highest importance. Now, if this speech had first related the terrible scene in Antigone's tomb, and had then passed on to the quiet obsequies of Polyneices, its rhetorical impressiveness would have been destroyed. It was indispensable that the latter part of the recital should correspond with the climax of tragic interest. This, I believe, was the motive present to the poet's mind when, after indicating in the dialogue that the release was to precede the burial, he reversed that order in composing the Messenger's speech. He knew that his Athenian audience would be keenly susceptible to the oratorical quality of that speech, while they would be either inattentive, or very indulgent, to the defect in point of dramatic consistency. The result is a real blemish, though not a serious one; indeed, it may be said to compensate the modern reader for its existence by exemplifying some tendencies of the art which admitted it.

The simplicity of the plot
The question raised by the play.
is due,—as the foregoing sketch has shown,—to the clearness with which two principles are opposed to each other. Creon represents the duty of obeying the State's laws; Antigone, the duty of listening to the private conscience. The definiteness and the power with which the play puts the case on each side are conclusive proofs that the question had assumed a distinct shape before the poet's mind. It is the only instance in which a Greek play has for its central theme a practical problem of conduct, involving issues, moral and political, which might be discussed on similar grounds in any age and in any country of the world. Greek Tragedy, owing partly to the limitations which it placed on detail, was better suited than modern drama to raise such a question in a general form. The Antigone, indeed, raises the question in a form as nearly abstract as is compatible with the nature of drama. (The case of Antigone is a thoroughly typical one for the private conscience, because the particular thing which she believes that she ought to do was, in itself, a thing which every Greek of that age recognised as a most sacred duty,— viz., to render burial rites to kinsfolk.) This advantage was not devised by Sophocles; it came to him as part of the story which he was to dramatise; but it forms an additional reason for thinking that, when he dramatised that story in the precise manner which he has choscn, he had a consciously dialectical purpose9 Such a purpose was wholly consistent, in this instance, with the artist's first aim,—to produce a work of art. It is because Creon and Antigone are so human that the controversy which they represent becomes so vivid.

But how did Sophocles intend us to view the result?
What is the moral intended?
What is the drift of the words at the end, which say that ‘wisdom is the supreme part of happiness’? If this wisdom, or prudence (“τὸ φρονεῖν”), means, generally, the observance of due limit, may not the suggested moral be that both the parties to the conflict were censurable? As Creon overstepped the due limit when, by his edict, he infringed the divine law, so Antigone also overstepped it when she defied the edict. The drama would thus be a conflict between two persons, each of whom defends an intrinsically sound principle, but defends it in a mistaken way; and both persons are therefore punished. This view, of which Boeckh is the chief representative, has found several supporters. Among them is Hegel:—‘In the view of the Eternal Justice, both were wrong, because they were onesided; but at the same time both were right10.’

Or does the poet rather intend us to feel that Antigone is wholly in the right,—i.e., that nothing of which the human lawgiver could complain in her was of a moment's account beside the supreme duty which she was fulfilling;—and that Creon was wholly in the wrong,—i.e., that the intrinsically sound maxims of government on which he relies lose all validity when opposed to the higher law which he was breaking? If that was the poet's meaning, then the ‘wisdom’ taught by the issue of the drama means the sense which duly subordinates human to divine law,—teaching that, if the two come into conflict, human law must yield.

This question is one which cannot be put aside by merely suggesting that Sophocles had no didactic purpose at all, but left us to take whichever view we please. For, obviously, according as we adopt one or other of the views, our estimate of the play as a work of art must be vitally affected. The punishments meted out to Creon and Antigone respectively require us to consider the grounds on which they rest. A difference will be made, too, in our conception of Antigone's character, and therefore in our judgment as to the measure of skill with which the poet has portrayed her.

A careful study of the play itself will suffice (I think) to show that the second of the two views above mentioned is the true one. Sophocles has allowed Creon to put his case ably, and (in a measure from which an inferior artist might have shrunk) he has been content to make Antigone merely a nobly heroic woman, not a being exempt from human passion and human weakness; but none the less does he mean us to feel that, in this controversy, the right is wholly with her, and the wrong wholly with her judge.

In the first place it is necessary to appreciate the nature of Creon's edict
The character of Creon's edict.
against burying Polyneices. Some modern estimates of the play have seemed to assume that such refusal of sepulture, though a harsh measure, was yet one which the Greek usage of the poet's age recognised as fairly applicable to public enemies, and that, therefore, Creon's fault lay merely in the degree of his severity. It is true that the legends of the heroic age afford some instances in which a dead enemy is left unburied, as a special mark of abhorrence. This dishonour brands the exceptionally base crime of Aegisthus11 Yet these same legends also show that, from a very early period, Hellenic feeling was shocked at the thought of carrying enmity beyond the grave, and withholding those rites on which the welfare of the departed spirit was believed to depend. The antiquity of the maxim that, after a battle, the conquerors were bound to allow the vanquished to bury their dead, is proved by the fact that it was ascribed either to Theseus12 or to Heracles13. Achilles maltreated the dead Hector. Yet, even there, the Iliad expresses the Greek feeling by the beautiful and touching fable that the gods themselves miraculously preserved the corpse from all defacement and from all corruption, until at last the due obsequies were rendered to it in Troy14. The Atreidae refused burial to Ajax; but Odysseus successfully pleaded against the sentence, and Ajax was ultimately buried with all honour15. In giving that issue to his play, Sophocles was doing what the general feeling of his own age would strongly demand. Greeks of the fifth century B.C. observed the duty towards the dead even when warfare was bitterest, and when the foe was barbarian. The Athenians buried the Persians slain at Marathon, as the Persians buried the Lacedaemonians slain at Thermopylae. A notable exception may, indeed, be cited; but it is one of those exceptions which forcibly illustrate the rule. The Spartan Lysander omitted to bury the Athenians who fell at Aegospotami; and that omission was remembered, centuries later, as an indelible stigma upon his name16.

Thus the audience for which Sophocles composed the Antigone would regard Creon's edict as something very different from a measure of exceptional, but still legitimate, severity. They would regard it as a shocking breach of that common piety which even the most exasperated belligerents regularly respected.

The next point to be considered is, In what sense,
The edict in its political aspect.
and how far, does Creon, in this edict, represent the State? He is the lawful king of Thebes. His royal power is conceived as having no definite limit. The words of the Chorus testify that he is acting within the letter of his right; ‘thou hast power, I ween, to take what order thou wilt, both for the dead, and for all us who live’ (211 f.). On the other hand, he is acting against the unanimous, though silent, sense of Thebes, which, as his son Haemon tells him, held that Antigone had done a glorious deed (695). Creon replies: ‘Shall Thebes prescribe to me how I shall rule?’ His son rejoins: ‘That is no city (“πόλις”), which belongs to one man’ (737). Where the unanimous opinion of the community was ignored, the Athenians of the poet's day would feel that, as Haemon says, there was no ‘city’ at all. Indeed, when Creon summoned ‘the conference of elders,’ that summons was itself an admission that he was morally bound to take account of other judgments besides his own. We may often notice in the Attic drama that the constitutional monarchy of the legendary heroic age is made to act in the spirit, and speak in the tone, of the unconstitutional tyrannus, as the historical age knew it. This was most natural; it gave an opening for points sure to tell with a ‘tyrant-hating’ Athenian audience, and it was perfectly safe from objection on the ground of anachronism,—an objection which was about the last that Athenian spectators were likely to raise, if we may judge by the practice of the dramatists. Now, the Creon of the Antigone, though nominally a monarch of the heroic age, has been created by the Attic poet in the essential image of the historical tyrannus. The Attic audience would mentally compare him, not to an Agamemnon or an Alcinous, but to a Hippias or a Periander. He resembles the ruler whose absolutism, imposed on the citizens by force, is devoid of any properly political sanction. [Antigone can certainly be described, with technical correctness, as acting ‘in despite of the State,’ since Creon is the State, so far as a State exists.] But the Greeks for whom Sophocles wrote would not regard Creon's edict as having a constitutional character, in the sense in which that character belonged to laws sanctioned (for instance) by the Athenian Ecclesia. They would liken it rather to some of the arbitrary and violent acts done by Hippias in the later period of his ‘tyranny.’ To take a modern illustration, they would view it in a quite different light from that in which we should regard the disobedience of a Russian subject to a ukase of the Czar.

If, then, we endeavour to interpret Creon's action by the standards which the poet's contemporaries would apply, we find, first, that he is doing a monstrous act; secondly, that, in doing it, he cannot, indeed, be said to exceed his prerogative, since this is indefinite; but he is exceeding his moral right in such a manner that he becomes the counterpart of the tyrannus who makes a cruel use of an unconstitutional power.

Antigone, on the other hand, is fulfilling one of the most
Antigone's position.
sacred and the most imperative duties known to Greek religion; and it is a duty which could not be delegated. She and her sister are the nearest kinsfolk of the dead. It is not to be expected that any stranger should brave the edict for the dead man's sake. As the Chorus says, ‘no man is so foolish that he is enamoured of death’ (220). Creon is furious when the Chorus suggests that the rites so mysteriously paid to the corpse may have been due to the agency of the gods (278 f.). That very suggestion of the Chorus shows how impossible it seemed to the Theban mind that Polyneices could receive the ministration of any human hand. A modern critic, taking the view that Antigone was wrong, has observed (not ironically) that she ought to have left the gods to provide the burial. It would have been ill for the world if all who have done heroic deeds had preferred to await miracles. As to another suggestion,—that Antigone ought to have tried persuasion with Creon,—the poet has supplied the answer in his portraiture of Creon's character,—a character known to Antigone from long experience. The situation in which Antigone was placed by Creon's edict was analogous to that of a Christian martyr under the Roman Empire. It was as impossible for Antigone to withhold those rites, which no other human being could now render, as it was impossible for the Christian maiden to avoid the torments of the arena by laying a grain of incense on the altar of Diana17. From both alike those laws which each believed to be ‘the unfailing statutes of Heaven’ claimed an allegiance which no human law could cancel, and it was by the human ruler, not by his victim, that the conflict of loyalties had been made inevitable.

One of the main arguments
The attitude of the Chorus.
used to show that Sophocles conceived Antigone as partly censurable has been drawn from the utterances of the Chorus. It is therefore important to determine, if we can, what the attitude of these Theban Elders really is. Their first ode (the Parodos) shows how strongly they condemn Polyneices, as having led a hostile army against his country. We might have expected, then, that, when Creon acquainted them with his edict, they would have greeted it with some mark of approval. On the contrary, their words are confined to a brief utterance of submission: ‘Such is thy pleasure, Creon, son of Menoeceus, touching this city's foe, and its friend; and thou hast power, I ween, to take what order thou wilt, both for the dead, and for all us who live’ (211 ff.). We can see that they are startled by such a doom, even for a man whom they hold deeply guilty. Their words suggest a misgiving. Just afterwards, they significantly excuse themselves from taking any part in the enforcement of the edict (216). But it is otherwise when the edict, having been published, is broken. Then they range themselves on Creon's side. They refer to the disobedience as a daring offence (371). When Antigone is brought in, they speak of her folly (383). Nevertheless, Antigone is convinced that, in their hearts, they sympathise with her (504). And, indeed, it is plain that they do so, to this extent,—that they consider the edict to have been a mistake; though they also hold that it was wrong to break the edict. Hence they speak of Antigone's act as one prompted by ‘frenzy at the heart’ (603). The clearest summary of their whole view—up to this point of the drama—is given in verses 872-875, and amounts to this:—Antigone's act was, in itself, a pious one; but Creon, as a ruler, was bound to vindicate his edict. Her ‘self-willed temper’ has brought her to death.

So far, then, the view taken by the Chorus is very much Boeckh's:—the merits are divided; Creon is both right and wrong; so, too, is Antigone. But then Teiresias comes (v. 988), and convinces the Chorus that Creon has been wholly wrong; wrong in refusing burial to Polyneices; wrong in punishing Antigone. It is at the urgent advice of the Chorus that Creon yields. And when, a little later, Creon blames himself as the cause of all the woe, the Chorus replies that now at last he sees the truth (v. 1270). Thus the Theban Elders entertain two different opinions in succession. Their first opinion is overthrown by Teiresias. Their second opinion—which they hold from verse 1091 onwards—is that which the poet intends to be recognised as the true one.

After thus tracing the mind of the Chorus, we can see
Why the Chorus is so constituted.
more clearly why it is composed of Theban elders. When the chief person of a Greek tragedy is a woman, the Chorus usually consists of women, whose attitude towards the heroine is more or less sympathetic. Such is the case in the Electra and the Trachiniae, and in seven plays of Euripides,—the Andromache, Electra, Hecuba, Helena, both Iphigeneias, and Medea. The Chorus of the Alcestis, indeed, consists of Pheraean elders: but then Alcestis is withdrawn from the scene at an early moment, and restored to it only at the end: during the rest of the play, the interest is centred in Admetus. In the Antigone, Sophocles had a double reason for constituting the Chorus as he did. First, the isolation of the heroine would have been less striking if she had been supported by a group of sympathetic women. Secondly, the natural predisposition of the Theban nobles to support their king heightens the dramatic effect of their ultimate conversion.

The character of Antigone is a separate question from
Character of Antigone.
the merit of the cause in which she is engaged. She might be doing right, and yet the poet might have represented her as doing it in such a manner as to render her heroism unattractive. We may now turn to this question, and consider what manner of woman she is.

Two qualities are at the basis of her character. One is an enthusiasm, at once steadfast and passionate, for the right, as she sees it,—for the performance of her duty. The other is intense tenderness, purity, and depth of domestic affection; manifested here in the love of sister for brother, a love which death has not weakened, but only consecrated; as in the Oedipus Coloneus—where the portraiture of her is entirely in unison with that given here—it is manifested in the tender anxiety to reconcile her living brothers, and in the fearless, completely selfless devotion—through painful wanderings, through all misery and all reproach—to the old age of her blind and homeless father. In the opening scene of the play, we find her possessed by a burning indignation at the outrage done to her dead brother; the deep love which she feels for him is braced by a clear sense of the religious duty which this edict lays upon her, and by an unfaltering resolve to do it; it never occurs to her for an instant that, as a true sister, she could act otherwise; rather it seems wonderful to her that the author of the edict should even have expected it to prove deterrent—for her (ver. 32).

With her whole heart and soul

Her relation to Ismene.
dominated by these feelings, she turns to her sister Ismene, and asks for her aid; not as if the response could be doubtful—she cannot imagine its being doubtful; it does not enter her mind that one whom she has just addressed by so dear a name, and with whom her tie of sisterhood is made closer still by the destiny which has placed them apart, can be anything but joyful and proud to risk life in the discharge of a duty so plain, so tender, and so sacred. And how does Ismene meet her? Ismene reminds her that other members of their house have perished miserably, and that, if Antigone acts thus, Antigone and she will die more miserably still: they are women, and must not strive with men; they are subjects, and must not strive with rulers: Ismene will ask the dead to excuse her, since she is constrained, and will obey the living: ‘for it is witless to be over-busy’ (“περισσὰ πράσσειν”, v. 68). Ismene is amiable enough; she cannot be called exceptionally weak or timid; she is merely the average woman; her answer here is such as would have been made by most women—and perhaps by a still larger proportion of men, as the Chorus afterwards forcibly reminds us. But, given the character and the present mood of Antigone, what must be the effect of such a reply to such an appeal? It is the tenderness, quite as much as the strength, of Antigone's spirit that speaks in her answer:—‘I will not urge thee,—no, nor, if thou yet shouldst have the mind, wouldst thou be welcome as a worker with me.’ And the calmest reason thoroughly approves that answer; for the very terms in which Ismene had repulsed her sister proved a nature which could never rise to the height of such a task, and which would be more dangerous as an ally than as a neutral.

When the sisters next meet, it is in Creon's presence, and the situation is this:—Antigone has done the deed, unaided; and Creon has said that both sisters shall die—for he suspects Ismene of complicity. Ismene's real affection is now quickened by a fevcrish remorse, and by an impulse towards self-immolation,— an impulse of a sentimental and almost hysterical kind: she will say that she helped Antigone; she will die with her; she will yet make amends to the dead. Was Antigone to indulge Ismene's impulse, and to allow Ismene's words to confirm Creon's suspicions? Surely Antigone was bound to do what she does,—namely, to speak out the truth: ‘Nay, Justice will not suffer thee to do that; thou didst not consent to the deed, neither did I give thee part in it.’ But it will be said that her tone towards Ismene is too stern and hard. The sternness is only that of truth; the hardness is only that of reality: for, among the tragic circumstances which surround Antigone, this is precisely one of the most tragic, that Ismene's earlier conduct, at the testing-point of action, has made a spiritual division which no emotional after-impulse can cancel. One more point may be raised: when Ismene says, ‘What life is dear to me, bereft of thee?’—Antigone replies, ‘Ask Creon—all thy care is for him’ (v. 549): is not this, it may be asked, a needless taunt? The answer is found in Antigone's wish to save Ismene's life. Thus far in the dialogue, Ismene has persisted—even after Antigone's denial—in claiming a share in the deed (vv. 536-547). Creon might well think that, after all, the fact was as he suspected. It was necessary for Antigone to make him see—by some trenchant utterance—that she regarded Ismene as distinctly ranged on his side. And she succeeded. Later in the play, where Creon acknowledges Ismene's innocence, he describes it in the very phrase which Antigone had impressed upon his memory; he speaks of Ismene as one ‘who has not touched’ the deed (v. 771: cp. v. 546). It is with pain (v. 551), it is not with scorn or with bitterness, that Antigone remains firm. Her attitude is prescribed equally by regard for truth and right, and by duty towards her sister.

Antigone is betrothed to Haemon;

Her relation to Haemon.
the closeness of the affection between them is significantly marked by the words of Ismene (v. 570); it is expressed in the words, the deeds, and the death, of Haemon. If verse 572 is rightly assigned to Antigone (as, in my opinion, it is), that brief utterance tells much: but let us suppose that it belongs to Ismene, and that Antigone never once refers directly to Haemon: we say, ‘directly,’ because more than once she alludes to sweet hopes which life had still to offer her. It is evident that, if Sophocles had given greater prominence to Antigone's love for Haemon, he could have had only one aim, consistently with the plan of this play,—viz., to strengthen our sense of the ties which bound her to life, and, therefore, of her heroism in resigning it. But it is also evident that he could have done this, with any effect, only at the cost of depicting a mind divided between the desire of earthly happiness and the resolve to perform a sacred duty. Sophocles has preferred to portray Antigone as raised above every selfish thought, even the dearest, by the absorbing and inspiring sense of her duty to the dead, and to the gods; silent, not through apathy, concerning a love which could never be hers, and turning for comfort to the faith that, beyond the grave, the purest form of human affection would reunite her to those whom she had lost. It is no blame to later dramatists that they found it necessary to make more of the love-motive; but, if our standard is to be the noblest tragic art, it is a confession of their inferiority to Sophocles. There is a beautiful verse in the play which might suggest how little he can have feared that his heroine would ever be charged with a cold insensibility. Creon has urged that the honour which she has shown to Polyneices will be resented by the spirit of Eteocles. Antigone answers, ‘It is not my nature to join in hating, but in loving.’ As she had sought to reconcile them while they lived, so now she will have no part in their feud—if feud there be where they have gone,—but will love each, as he loves her.

So long as her task lies before Antigone,

The reaction in Antigone's mind.
she is sustained by the necessity for action. Nor does she falter for a moment, even after the deed has been done, so long as she is in the presence of Creon. For though she has no longer the stimulus of action, there is still another challenge to her fortitude; she, who is loyal to the divine law, cannot tremble before the man who is its embodied negation. It is otherwise when Creon is gone, and when there are only the Theban elders to see and hear her, as she is led to death. The strain on her mind is relaxed; the end is near; she now feels the longing for some word of pity as she passes to the grave,—for some token of human kindness. But, while she craves such sympathy, the Theban nobles merely console her with the thought of posthumous fame. She compares her doom to Niobe's; and they reply that it is a glory for her to be as Niobe, a daughter of the Tantalidae,—

the seed of gods,
Men near to Zeus; for whom on Ida burns,
High in clear air, the altar of their Sire,
Nor hath their race yet lost the blood divine18.
Few things in tragedy are more pathetic than this yearning of hers, on the brink of death, for some human kindness of farewell, thus ‘mocked’19, as she feels it to be, by a cold assurance of renown. She turns from men to invoke ‘the fount of Dircè and the holy ground of Thebes’; these, at least, will be her witnesses. In her last words, she is thinking of the dead, and of the gods; she feels sure of love in the world of the dead; but she cannot lift her face to the gods, and feel sure that they are with her. If they are so, why have they allowed her to perish for obeying them? Yet, again, they may be with her; she will know beyond the grave. If she has sinned, she will learn it there; but if she is innocent, the gods will vindicate when she is gone. How infinitely touching is this supreme trouble which clouds her soul at the last,—this doubt and perplexity concerning the gods! For it is not a misgiving as to the paramount obligation of the ‘unwritten laws’ which she has obeyed: it is only an anguish of wonder and uncertainty as to the mysterious ways of the powers which have laid this obligation on mortals,—a surmise that, as gods and men seem alike without pity for her, there has perhaps been something wrong in her way of doing the duty which was so clear and so binding.

The psychology of Sophocles
Distinctive merit of the portraiture.
is so excellent in the case of Antigone because he has felt that in a truly heroic nature there is the permanent strength of deep convictions, but there is also room for what superficial observers might think a moral anticlimax. So long as such a nature has to meet antagonism in word or deed, its permanent strength is heightened by a further support which is necessarily transient, —the strength of exaltation. But a mind capable of heroism is such as can see duties in their true proportions, and can sacrifice everything to the discharge of the highest: and it is such a mind, too, which, in looking back on a duty done, is most liable—through very largeness of vision, and sense of human limitations—to misgivings like those which vex the last moments of Antigone. The strength of exaltation has passed away; her clear intelligence cannot refuse to acknowledge that the actual results of doing right are in seeming conflict with the faith which was the sanction of the deed. It is worthy of notice that only at one moment of the drama does Antigone speak lightly of the penalty which she has deliberately incurred. That is at the moment when, face to face with Creon, she is asserting the superiority of the divine law. Nor does she, even then, speak lightly of death in itself; she only says that it is better than a life like hers; for at that moment she feels the whole burden of the sorrows which have fallen upon her race,—standing, as she does, before the man who has added the last woe. The tension of her mind is at the highest. But nowhere else does she speak as one who had sought death because weary of life; on the contrary, we can see that that life was dear to her, who must die young, ‘without a portion in the chant that brings the bride.’ It is a perfectly sane mind which has chosen death, and has chosen it only because the alternative was to neglect a sacred duty.

A comparison with other dramatists may serve to illustrate what Sophocles has gained by thus allowing the temporary strength of excitement to pass off before the end, leaving the permanent strength of the character to wrestle with this pain and doubt. In Alfieri's play of the same name, Antigone shows no touch of human weakness; as death approaches, she seems more and more impatiently eager for it; she says to Creon's guards, who are leading her to her doom,— “Let us make better speed; so slow a step
Ill becomes her who has at length just reach'd
The goal so long desired... Perhaps ye, O guards,
May feel compassion for my fate?... Proceed.
Oh terrible Death, I look thee in the face,
And yet I tremble not20.

In Massinger's Virgin Martyr, again, consider the strain in which Dorothea addresses Theophilus, the persecutor of the Christians, who has doomed her to torture and death:— “Thou fool!
That gloriest in having power to ravish
A trifle from me I am weary of,
What is this life to me? Not worth a thought;
Or, if it be esteem'd, 'tis that I lose it
To win a better: even thy malice serves
To me but as a ladder to mount up
To such a height of happiness, where I shall
Look down with scorn on thee and on the world.

The dramatic effect of such a tone, both in Alfieri's Antigone and in Massinger's Dorothea, is to make their fate not more, but less, pathetic; we should feel for them more if they, on their part, seemed to feel a little ‘what 'tis to die, and to die young,’— as Theophilus says to Dorothea. On the other hand, M. Casimir Delavigne, in his Messéniennes, is Sophoclean where he describes the last moments of Joan of Arc: “Du Christ, avec l'ardeur, Jeanne baisait l'image;
Ses longs cheveux épars flottaient au gré des vents:
Au pied de l'échafaud, sans changer de visage,
Elle s'avançait à pas lents.
Tranquille elle y monta; quand, debout sur le faîte,
Elle vit ce bûcher, qui l'allait dévorer,
Les bourreaux en suspens, la flamme déja prête,
Sentant son cœur faillir, elle baissa la tête,
Et se prit à pleurer21.

So it is that the Antigone of Sophocles, in the last scene of her life, feels her heart fail, bows her head, and weeps; but the first verse of the passage just quoted suggests a difference which makes the Greek maiden the more tragic figure of the two: when Antigone looked to heaven, she could find no certain comfort.

Thus has Sophocles created a true heroine; no fanatic enamoured of martyrdom, no virago, but a true woman, most tender-hearted, most courageous and steadfast; whose sense of duty sustains her in doing a deed for which she knows that she must die;—when it has been done, and death is at hand, then, indeed, there is a brief cry of anguish from that brave and loving spirit; it is bitter to die thus: but human sympathy is denied to her, and even the gods seem to have hidden their faces. Nowhere else has the poetry of the ancient world embodied so lofty or so beautiful an ideal of woman's love and devotion. The Macaria of Euripides resigns her life to save the race of the Heracleidae; his Iphigeneia, to prosper the course of the Greek fleet; his Alcestis, to save the life of her husband. In each of these cases, a divine voice had declared that some one must die; in each, the heroism required was purely passive; and in each a definite gain was promised,—for it was at least a pious opinion in the wife of Admetus (when all his other friends had declined his request that some of them would oblige him by dying for him)22 to think that his survival would be a gain. Not one of these Euripidean heroines, pathetic though they be, can for a moment be ranked with Fedalma in George Eliot's Spanish Gypsy, when she accepts what seems worse than death for the sake of benefits to her race which are altogether doubtful;— “‘my soul is faint—
Will these sharp pains buy any certain good?’

But Antigone is greater than Fedalma. There was no father, no Zarca, at Antigone's side, urgently claiming the sacrifice,— on the contrary, there was a sister protesting against it; Antigone's choice was wholly free; the heroism which it imposed was one of doing as well as suffering; and the sole reward was to be in the action itself.

The character of Creon, as Sophocles draws it in this
play, may be regarded in somewhat different lights. It is interesting, then, to inquire how the poet meant it to be read. According to one view, Creon is animated by a personal spite against both Polyneices and Antigone; his maxims of statepolicy are mere pretexts. This theory seems mistaken. There is, indeed, one phrase which might suggest previous dissensions between Creon and Antigone (v. 562). It is also true that Creon is supposed to have sided with Eteocles when Polyneices was driven into exile. But Sophocles was too good a dramatist to lay stress on such motives in such a situation. Rather, surely, Creon is to be conceived as entirely sincere and profoundly earnest when he sets forth the public grounds of his action. They are briefly these. Anarchy is the worst evil that can befall a State: the first duty of a ruler is therefore to enforce law and maintain order. The safety of the individual depends on that of the State, and therefore every citizen has a direct interest in obedience. This obedience must be absolute and unquestioning. The ruler must be obeyed ‘in little things and great, in just things and unjust’ (v. 667). That is, the subject must never presume to decide for himself what commands may be neglected or resisted. By rewarding the loyal and punishing the disloyal, a ruler will promote such obedience.

Creon puts his case with lucidity and force. We are reminded

Comparison with Plato's Crito.
of that dialogue in which Plato represents Socrates, on the eve of execution, as visited in prison by his aged friend Crito, who comes to tell him that the means of escape have been provided, and to urge that he should use them. Socrates imagines the Laws of Athens remonstrating with him: ‘Do you imagine that a State can subsist, in which the decisions of law are set aside by individuals?’ And to the plea that ‘unjust’ decisions may be disobeyed, the Laws rejoin,—‘Was that our agreement with you? Or were you to abide by the sentence of the State?’ When Antigone appeals to the laws of Hades (v. 451), might not Creon's laws, then, say to her what the laws of Athens say with regard to the hypothetical flight of Socrates:—‘We shall be angry with you while you live, and our brethren, the Laws in the world below, will receive you as an enemy; for they will know that you have done your best to destroy us’?

Plato, it has been truly said, never intended to answer the question of casuistry, as to when, if ever, it is right to break the city's law. But at least there is one broad difference between the cases supposed in the Crito and the Antigone. Antigone had a positive religious duty, about which there was no doubt at all, and with which Creon's law conflicted. For Socrates to break prison might be justifiable, but could not be described as a positive religious duty; since, however much good he might feel confident of effecting by preserving his life, he was at least morally entitled to think that such good would be less than the evil of the example. Creon is doing what, in the case of Socrates, Athens did not do,—he is invading the acknowledged province of religion. Not that he forgets the existence of the gods: he reveres them in what he believes to be the orthodox way23. But he assumes that under no imaginable circumstances can the gods disapprove of penalties inflicted on a disloyal citizen. Meanwhile his characteristic tendency ‘to do everything too much’ has led him into a step which renders this assumption disastrous. He punishes Polyneices in a manner which violates religion.

In Antigone, again,

Creon's attitude towards Antigone
he sees anarchy personified, since, having disobeyed, she seems to glory therein (v. 482). Her defence is unmeaning to him, for her thoughts move in a different region from his own. Sophocles has brought this out with admirable skill in a short dialogue between Creon and Antigone (508-525): we see that he cannot get beyond his principle of State rewards and punishments; she is speaking foolishness to him— as, indeed, from the first she had felt the hopelessness of their understanding each other (469 f., 499 f.). As this dialogue serves to show Creon's unconsciousness of the frontier between divine and human law, so his scene with Haemon brings out his incapacity to appreciate the other great motive of Antigone's conduct,—sisterly piety. Creon regards the Family almost exclusively in one aspect; for him it is an institution related to the State as the gymnasium to the stadium; it is a little State, in which a man may prove that he is fit to govern a larger one.

Creon's temper is hasty and vehement. He vows that Haemon ‘shall not save those two girls from their doom’; but, when the Chorus pleads for Ismene, he quickly adds that he will spare her,—‘thou sayest well’ (770 f.). We also notice his love of hyperbole (1039 ff.). But he is not malevolent. He represents the rigour of human law,—neither restricted by the sense of a higher law, nor intensified by a personal desire to hurt. He has the ill-regulated enthusiasm of a somewhat narrow understanding for the only principle which it has firmly grasped.

Such, then, are the general characteristics which mark the treatment of this subject by Sophocles. In a drama of rare poetical beauty, and of especially fine psychology, he has raised the question as to the limit of the State's authority over the individual conscience. It belongs to the essence of the tragic pathos that this question is one which can never be answered by a set formula. Enough for Antigone that she finds herself in a situation where conscience leaves her no choice but to break one of two laws, and to die.

These distinctive qualities of the play may be illustrated by a glance at the work of some other poets. The Antigone of Euripides is now represented only by a few small fragments,

and its plot is uncertain. It would seem, however, that, when Antigone was caught in the act of burial, Haemon was assisting her, and that the play ended, not with her death, but with her marriage24. Some of the fragments confirm the belief that the
love-motive was prominent25. The Roman poet Attius (c. 140 B.C.) also wrote an Antigone. The few remaining verses—some of which have lived only because Vergil imitated them—indicate eloquence and spirit, but give no clue to the plot26. Statius, in
his epic Thebaid, departs widely from the Attic version of the story. Argeia, the widow of Polyneices, meets Antigone by night at the corpse. Each, unknown to the other, has come to do the same task; both are put to death by Creon,— “;ambae hilares et mortis amore superbae27. This rapturous welcoming of death is, as we have seen, quite in the manner of Massinger and Alfieri, but not at all in that of Sophocles.

Alfieri's Antigone (published in 1783) follows Statius in

associating Argeia with Antigone; besides whom there are only two other actors, Creon and Haemon. The Italian poet has not improved upon the Greek. There are here two heroines, with very similar parts, in performing which they naturally utter very similar sentiments. Then Alfieri's Creon is not merely a perverse despot of narrow vision, but a monster of wickedness, who, by a thought worthy of Count Cenci, has published the edict for the express purpose of enticing Antigone into a breach of it. Having doomed her to die, he then offers to pardon her, if she will marry his son (and so unite the royal line with his own); but Antigone, though she esteems Haemon, declines to marry the son of such a parent. So she is put to death, while Argeia is sent back to Argos; and Haemon kills himself. It is not altogether unprofitable to be reminded, by such examples, what the theme of Sophocles could become in other hands.

A word may be added regarding treatments of the
subject in works of art, which are not without some points of literary interest. Baumeister reproduces two vase-paintings, both curious28. The first29 represents a group of three figures,—the central figure being an old man who has just doffed the mask of a young maiden,—while a guard, spear in hand, seizes him by the neck. This is explained as a comic parody of Antigone's story; she has sent an old servant to perform the task in her stead, and he, when confronted with Creon, drops his disguise. The other vase-painting30,—of perhaps c. 380-300 B.C.,—represents Heracles interceding with Creon, who is on the hero's right hand, while Antigone and Haemon are on his left. Eurydicè, Ismene, and a youth (perhaps Maion, the offspring of Antigone's marriage with Haemon) are also present. Klügmann31 refers this picture to the lost play of Euripides. Heydemann32 (with more probability, I think) supposes it to represent a scene from an otherwise unknown drama, of which he recognises the plot in Hyginus (Fab. 72). It is briefly this:—Haemon has disobeyed Creon by saving Antigone's life; Heracles intercedes with Creon for Haemon, but in vain; and the two lovers commit suicide. Professor Rhousopoulos, of Athens, in a letter to the French Academy33 (1885), describes a small fragment of a ceramic vase or cup, which he believes to have been painted in Attica, about 400-350 B.C., by (or after) a good artist. The fragment shows the beautiful face of a maiden,—the eyes bent earnestly on some object which lies before her. This object has perished with the rest of the vase. But the letters “ΕΙΚΗΣ” remain; and it is certain that the body of Polyneices was the sight on which the maiden was gazing. As Prof. Rhousopoulos ingeniously shows, the body must have been depicted as resting on sloping ground,— the lowest slope, we may suppose, of the hill upon which the guards sat (v. 411). The moment imagined by the artist may have been that at which Antigone returned, to find that the body had been again stripped of dust (v. 426). The women of ancient Thebes are said to have been distinguished for stature no less than beauty; and the artist of the vase appears to have given Antigone both characteristics.

It is not however, in the form of painting or of sculpture that Art has furnished the Antigone with its most famous and most delightful illustration. Two generations have now been so accustomed to associate this play with the music of Mendelssohn that at least a passing notice is due to
the circumstances under which that music was composed; circumstances which, at a distance of nearly half a century, possess a peculiar interest of their own for these later days of classical revivals. After Frederick William IV. had come to the Prussian throne in June, 1840, one of his first acts was to found at Berlin the Academy of Arts for Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, and Music; Mendelssohn, who was then thirty-two, became the first Director of the department of Music, in the spring of 1841. The King had conceived the wish to revive some of the masterpieces of Greek Tragedy,— a project which the versatile poet Tieck, then on the confines of old age, encouraged warmly; none the less so, it would seem, because his own youth had been so vigorously identified with the protests of the Romantic school against classical restraint. Donner had recently published his German translation of Sophocles, ‘in the metres of the original,’ and the Antigone was chosen for the experiment. Mendelssohn accepted with enthusiasm the task of writing the music. The rapidity with which he worked may be estimated from the fact that Sept. 9, 1841, seems to have been about the date at which Tieck first broached the idea to him, and that the first full stage rehearsal took place some six weeks later,—on October 22nd. The success of the music in Germany seems to have been immediate and great; rather more than could be said of the first performance in London, when the Antigone, with the new music, was brought out at Covent Garden, on Jan. 2, 1845. The orchestra on that occasion, indeed, had a conductor no less able than the late Sir G Macfarren; but the Chorus was put on the stage in a manner of which a graphic memorial has been preserved to us34. It may be added that the Covent Garden stage-manager improved the opportunity of the joyous ‘dance-song’ to Dionysus (vv. 1115-1154) by introducing a regular ballet.

To most lovers of music Mendelssohn's Antigone is too familiar to permit any word of comment here; but it may perhaps be less superfluous to remark a fact which has been brought under the writer's notice by an accomplished scholar35. For the most part, the music admits of having the Greek words set to it in a way which shows that Mendelssohn, while writing for Donner's words, must have been guided by something more than Donner's imitation of the Greek metres; he must also have been attentive, as a general rule, to the Greek text.

The question as to the date
Date of the play.
of the Antigone has a biographical no less than a literary interest. It is probable that the play was first produced at the Great Dionysia towards the end of March, 441 B.C. This precise date is, indeed, by no means certain; but all the evidence indicates that, at any rate, the years 442 and 441 B.C. give the probable limits. According to the author of the first Argument to the play, the success of the Antigone had led to Sophocles obtaining the office of general, which he held in an expedition against Samos. Athens sent two expeditions to Samos in 440 B.C. (1) The occasion of the first expedition was as follows. Samos and Miletus had been at war for the possession of Prienè, a place on the mainland not far from Miletus. The Milesians, having been worsted, denounced the Samians to the Athenians; who required that both parties should submit their case at Athens. This the Samians refused to do. The Athenians then sent forty ships to Samos,—put down the oligarchy there,—and established a democracy in its place36. (2) The second expedition had to deal with Samos in open rebellion. The Samian oligarchs had come back,—overthrown the new democracy,—and proclaimed a revolt from Athens, in which Byzantium joined. Pericles was one of the ten generals for the year. He sailed at once to Samos, with sixty ships. All his nine colleagues went with him. When they reached Samos, sixteen of the sixty ships were detached on special service,—partly to watch the Carian coast, partly to summon aid from the two great islands to the
The strategia of Sophocles.
north, Chios and Lesbos. Sophocles, who was one of the ten generals, was sent on the mission to these islands.

‘I met Sophocles, the poet, at Chios, when he was sailing as general to Lesbos.’ These are the words of Ion, the poet and prose-writer—who was only some twelve years younger than Sophocles—in a fragment preserved by Athenaeus37. The occasion of the meeting was a dinner given to Sophocles at Chios by Hermesilaus, a friend of his who acted as Athenian ‘proxenus’ there. Now, there is not the smallest real ground for questioning the genuineness of this fragment38. And its genuineness is confirmed by internal evidence. Sophocles said at the dinner-party,—alluding to a playful ruse by which he had amused the company,—that he was practising generalship, as Pericles had said that he was a better poet than general. The diplomatic mission to Chios and Lesbos was a service in which Pericles might very naturally utilize the abilities of his gifted, though unmilitary colleague. There is another trait which has not (to my knowledge) been noticed, but which seems worth remarking, as the coincidence is one which is not likely to have been contrived by a forger. It is casually mentioned that, at this dinner-party, an attendant was standing ‘near the fire,’ and the couch of Sophocles, the chief guest, was also near it. The warm season, then, had not begun. Now we know that Pericles sailed for Samos early in 440 B.C., before the regular season for navigation had yet opened39.

If the fragment of Ion is authentic, then it is certain that Sophocles held the strategia, and certain also that he held it in 440 B.C.: for Ion's mention of Lesbos cannot possibly be referred to the revolt of that island from Athens in 428 B.C. Apart from the fragment of Ion, however, there is good Attic authority for the tradition. Androtion, whose Atthis was written about 280 B.C., gave the names of the ten generals at Samos on this occasion. His list40 includes Pericles, and ‘Sophocles, the poet, of Colonus.’

Later writers refer to the poet's strategia as if it were a generally accepted fact41.

We have next to ask,—What ground is there for connecting
Had the play any bearing upon the poet's appointment?
this strategia of Sophocles with the production of his Antigone? The authority for such a connection is the first Argument to the play. This is ascribed to Aristophanes of Byzantium (c. 200 B.C.), but is more probably of later origin. It says;—‘They say (“φασί”) that Sophocles was appointed to the strategia which he held at Samos, because he had distinguished himself by the production of the Antigone.’ Here, as so often elsewhere, the phrase, ‘they say,’ is not an expression of doubt, but an indication that the story was found in several writers. We know the names of at least two writers in whose works such a tradition would have been likely to occur. One of them is Satyrus (c. 200 B.C.), whose collection of biographies was used by the author of the Life of Sophocles42; the other—also quoted in the Life—is Carystius of Pergamum, who lived about 110 B.C., and wrote a book, “Περὶ διδασκαλιῶν”—‘Chronicles of the Stage’—which Athenaeus cites. At the time when these works —and there were others of a similar kind—were compiled, old and authentic lists of Athenian plays, with their dates, appear to have been extant in such libraries as those of Alexandria and Pergamum. When, therefore, we meet with a tradition,—dating at least from the second century B.C.,—which affirms that the strategia of Sophocles was due to his Antigone, one inference, at least, is fairly secure. We may believe that the Antigone was known to have been produced earlier than the summer of 441 B.C. For, if Sophocles was strategus in the early spring of 440 B.C., he must have been elected in May, 441 B.C. The election of the ten strategi was held annually, at the same time as the other official elections (“ἀρχαιρεσίαι”), in the month of Thargelion, at the beginning of the ninth prytany of the civic year. Further, we may conclude that the Antigone had not been produced at any long interval before May, 441 B.C. Otherwise the tradition that the play had influenced the election—whether it really did so or not—would not have seemed probable.

Assuming, then, that the Antigone was brought out not long before Sophocles obtained the strategia, we have still to consider whether there is any likelihood in the story that his election was influenced by the success of the play. At first sight, a modern reader is apt to be reminded of the man of letters who, in the opinion of his admirer, would have been competent, at the shortest notice, to assume command of the Channel Fleet. It may appear grotesque that an important State should have rewarded poetical genius by a similar appointment. But here, as in other cases, we must endeavour to place ourselves at the old Athenian point of view. The word ‘general,’ by which we render ‘strategus,’ suggests functions purely military, requiring, for their proper discharge, an elaborate professional training. Such a conception of the Athenian strategia would not, however, be accurate. The ten strategi, chosen annually, formed a board of which the duties were primarily military, but also, in part, civil. And, for the majority of the ten, the military duties were usually restricted to the exercise of control and supervision at Athens. They resembled officials at the War Office, with some added functions from the province of the Home Office. The number of strategi sent out with an army or a fleet was, at this period, seldom more than three. It was only in grave emergencies that all the ten strategi went on active service together. In May, 441 B.C.,—the time, as it seems, when Sophocles was elected,—no one could have foreseen the great crisis at Samos. In an ordinary year Sophocles, as one of the strategi, would not necessarily have been required to leave Athens. Among his nine colleagues there were doubtless, besides Pericles, one or two more possessed of military aptitudes, who would have sufficed to perform any ordinary service in the field. Demosthenes—in whose day only one of the ten strategi was ordinarily commissioned for war—describes the other nine as occupied, among other things, with arranging the processions for the great religious festivals at Athens43. He deplores, indeed, that they should be so employed; but it is certain that it had long been one duty of these high officials to help in organising the great ceremonies. We are reminded how suitable such a sphere of duty would have been for Sophocles,—who is said to have led in his boyhood the Chorus that celebrated the victory of Salamis,—and we seem to win a new light on the meaning of his appointment to the strategia. In so far as a strategus had to do with public ceremonies and festivals, a man with the personal gifts of Sophocles could hardly have strengthened his claim better than by a brilliant success at the Dionysia. The mode of election was favourable to such a man. It was by show of hands in the Ecclesia. If the Antigone was produced at the Great Dionysia, late in March, 441 B.C., it is perfectly intelligible that the poet's splendid dramatic triumph should have contributed to his election in the following May. It is needless to suppose that his special fitness for the office was suggested to his fellow-citizens by the special maxims of administration which he ascribes to Creon,—a notion which would give an air of unreality,—verging, indeed, on comedy,—to a result which appears entirely natural when it is considered in a larger way44.

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.).

The first Argument
Place of the play in the series of the poet's works.
ends by saying that the play ‘has been reckoned as the thirty-second45.’ This statement was doubtless taken from authentic “διδασκαλίαι”—lists of performances, with their dates—which had come down from the 5th century B.C. to the Alexandrian age. The notice has a larger biographical interest than can often be claimed for such details. In 441 B.C. Sophocles was fifty-five: he died in 406/5 B.C., at ninety or ninety-one. More than 100 lost plays of his are known by name: the total number of his works might be roughly estimated at 110. It appears warrantable to assume that Sophocles had produced his works by tetralogies,—i.e., three tragedies and one satyric drama on each occasion. If the number 32 includes the satyric dramas, then the Antigone was the fourth play of the eighth tetralogy, and Sophocles would have competed on seven occasions before 441 B.C. He is recorded to have gained the first prize at his first appearance, in 468 B.C., when he was twenty-eight. The production of 28 plays in the next 27 years would certainly argue a fair measure of poetical activity. If, on the other hand, this 32 is exclusive of satyric dramas, then the Antigone was the second play of the eleventh trilogy, and the whole number of plays written by the poet from 468 to 441 B.C. (both years included) was 44.

On either view, then, we have this interesting result,—that the years of the poet's life from fifty-five to ninety were decidedly more productive than the years from twenty-eight to fifty-five. And if we suppose that the number 32 includes the satyric dramas—which seems the more natural view—then the ratio of increased fertility after the age of fifty-five becomes still more remarkable. We have excellent reason, moreover, for believing that this increase in amount of production was not attended by any deterioration of quality. The Philoctetes and the Coloneus are probably among the latest works of all. These facts entitle Sophocles to be reckoned among the most memorable instances of poetical genius prolonging its fullest vigour to extreme old age, and—what is perhaps rarer still—actually increasing its activity after middle life had been left behind.

Nothing is known as to the plays which Sophocles
The Theban plays—not a connected trilogy.
may have produced along with the Antigone. Two forms of trilogy were in concurrent use down at least to the end of the fifth century,—that in which the three tragedies were parts of one story,—and that in which no such link existed. The former was usually (though doubtless not always) employed by Aeschylus; the latter was preferred by his younger rival. Thus it is possible,—nay, probable,—that the two tragedies which accompanied the Antigone were unrelated to it in subject. Even when the Theban plays of Sophocles are read in the order of the fable, they do not form a linked trilogy in the Aeschylean sense. This is not due merely to discrepancy of detail or incompleteness of juncture. The perversely rigorous Creon of the Antigone is, indeed, an essentially distinct character from the ruthless villain of the Coloneus; the Coloneus describes the end of Oedipus in a manner irreconcileable with the allusion in the Antigone (v. 50). But, if such differences existed between the Choephori and the Eumenides, they would not affect the solidarity of the ‘Oresteia.’ On the other hand, it does not suffice to make the triad a compact trilogy that the Tyrannus is, in certain aspects, supplemented by the Coloneus46, and that the latter is connected with the Antigone by finely-wrought links of allusion47. In nothing is the art of Sophocles more characteristically seen than in the fact that each of these three masterpieces—with their common thread of fable, and with all their particular affinities—is still, dramatically and morally, an independent whole.

1 Salustius, in his Argument to this play (p. 5), notices that the fortunes of the sisters were differently related by other writers. Mimnermus (c. 620 B.C.) spoke of Ismene having been slain at Thebes by Tydeus, one of the Argive chiefs. Ion of Chios (c. 450 B.C.) said that both sisters were burned in the Theban temple of Hera by Laodamas, son of Eteocles, when Thebes was taken in the later war of the Epigoni. Here, then, we have an Ionian contemporary of Sophocles who did not know the legend of Antigone's deed,—another indication that the legend was of Attic growth.

2 Pind. Ol. 6.15; Nem. 9. 24.

3 Paus. 9.18.3.

4 With regard to this trilogy, see Introd. to the Oedipus Tyrannus, p. xvi.

5 See note on v. 1044.

6 See note on v. 1115.

7 i.e., an effigy. The deuteragonist, who had acted Haemon, had been on the stage, as Messenger, up to v. 1256, and had still to come on as Second Messenger at v. 1278.

8 In his first, or friendly, speech to Creon (998-1032) Teiresias says not a word concerning Antigone. Possibly he may be conceived as thinking that the burial of Polyneices would imply, as a consequence, the release of Antigone; though it is obvious that, from Creon's point of view, such an inference would be illogical: Antigone was punished because she had broken the edict; not because the burying of Polyneices was intrinsically wrong.

9 This point might be illustrated by contrast with an able romance, of which the title is borrowed from this play of Sophocles. ‘The New Antigone’ declined the sanction of marriage, because she had been educated by a father who had taught her to regard that institution as wrongful. Such a case was not well suited to do dramatically what the Antigone of Sophocles does,—to raise the question of human law against private conscience in a general form,—because the institution concerned claims to be more than a human ordinance, and because, on the other hand, the New Antigone's opinion was essentially an accident of perverted conscience. The author of the work was fully alive to this, and has said (Spectator, Nov. 5, 1887) that his choice of a title conveyed ‘a certain degree of irony.’

10 Religionsphilosophie, II. 114.

11 El. 1487 ff.

12 Plut. Thes. 29.

13 Aelian Var. Hist. 12. 27.

14 Il. 24.411 ff.

15 Ai. 1332 ff.

16 Paus. 9.32.6.

17 Mr Long's beautiful picture, ‘Diana or Christ,’ will be remembered by many,— and the more fitly, since it presents a counterpart, not only for Antigone, but also for Creon and for Haemon.

18 From the Niobe of Aeschylus (fr. 157): “οἱ θεῶν ἀγχίσποροι, οἱ Ζηνὸς ἐγγύς: οἷς κατ᾽ ᾿Ιδαῖον πάγον Διὸς πατρῴου βωμός ἐστ᾽ ἐν αἰθέρι, κοὔπω νιν ἐξίτηλον αἶμα δαιμόνων”.

19 v. 839.

20 C. Taylor's translation.

21 Quoted by M. Patin in his Études sur les Tragiques grecs, vol. II., p. 271.

22 Has the total absence of the sense of humour, in its disastrous effect upon tragic pathos, ever been more wonderfully illustrated than by Euripides in those lines of the Alcestis?

πάντας δ᾽ ἐλέγξας καὶ διεξελθὼν φίλους,
πατέρα, γεραιάν θ᾽ σφ᾽ ἔτικτε μητέρα,
οὐχ ηὗρε πλὴν γυναικὸς ὅστις ἤθελε
θανεῖν πρὸ κείνου μηδ᾽ ἔτ᾽ εἰσορᾶν φάος.

23 See especially the note on 1044.

24 All that we know as to the plot is contained in the first Argument to this play: ‘The story has been used also by Euripides in his Antigone; only there she is detected with Haemon, and is given in marriage, and bears a son Maion.’ In the scholia at the end of L we also read, ‘this play differs from the Antigone of Euripides in the fact that, there, she was detected through the love of Haemon, and was given in marriage; while here the issue is the contrary’ (i.e. her death). That this is the right rendering of the scholiast's words— “φωραθεῖσα ἐκείνη διὰ τὸν Αἵμονος ἔρωτα ἐξεδόθη πρὸς γάμον”—seems probable from a comparison with the statement in the Argument; though others have understood, ‘she was detected, and, owing to the love of Haemon, given in marriage.’ She was detected, not, as in the play of Sophocles, directly by Creon's guards, but (in some way not specified) through the fact that Haemon's love for her had drawn him to her side. Welcker (Griech. Trag. II. pp. 563 ff.) has sought to identify the Antigone of Euripides with the plot sketched by Hyginus in Fab. 72. Antigone having been detected, Haemon had been commissioned by Creon to slay her, but had saved her, conveying her to a shepherd's home. When Maion, the son of their secret marriage, had grown to man's estate, he visited Thebes at a festival. This was the moment (Welcker thinks) at which the Antigone of Euripides began. Creon noted in Maion a certain mark which all the offspring of the dragon's seed (“σπαρτοί”) bore on their bodies. Haemon's disobedience was thus revealed; Heracles vainly interceded with Creon; Haemon slew his wife Antigone and then himself. But surely both the author of the Argument and the scholiast clearly imply that the marriage of Antigone was contained in the play of Euripides, and formed its conclusion. I therefore agree with Heydemann (Über eine nacheuripideische Antigone, Berlin, 1868) that Hyginus was epitomising some otherwise unknown play. M. Patin (Études sur les Tragiques grecs, vol. II. p. 277) remarks that there is nothing to show whether the play of Euripides was produced before or after that of Sophocles. But he has overlooked a curious and decisive piece of evidence. Among the scanty fragments of the Euripidean Antigone are these lines (Eur. fr. 165, Nauck); —“ἄκουσον: οὐ γὰρ οἱ κακῶς πεπραγότες σὺν ταῖς τύχαισι τοὺς λόγους ἀπώλεσαν”. This evidently glances at the Antigone of Sophocles, vv. 563 f., where Ismene says, “οὐδ᾽ ὃς ἂν βλάστη μένει νοῦς τοῖς κακῶς πράσσουσιν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐξίσταται”. (For similar instances of covert criticism, see n. on O. C. 1116.)

25 Eur. fr. 160, 161, 162 (Nauck). The most significant is fr. 161, probably spoken by Haemon:—“ἤρων: τὸ μαίνεσθαι δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἦν ἔρως βροτοῖς”.—Another very suggestive fragment is no. 176, where the speaker is evidently remonstrating with Creon:— ‘Who shall pain a rock by thrusting at it with a spear? And who can pain the dead by dishonour, if we grant that they have no sense of suffering?’ This is characteristic of the difference between the poets. Sophocles never urges the futility of Creon's vengeance, though he does touch upon its ignobleness (v. 1030).

26 Only six fragments remain, forming, in all, ten (partly incomplete) lines: Ribbeck, Trag. Rom. Frag. p. 153 (1871). The Ismene of Attius said to her sister (fr. 2), “quanto magis te isti modi esse intellego,
Tanto, Antigona, magis me par est tibi consulere et parcere:

” with which Macrobius (Sat. 6. 2. 17) compares

quantum ipse feroci
Virtute exsuperas, tanto me impensius aecum est
Consulere atque omnes metuentem expendere casus.

Again, he notes (Sat. 6. 1. 59) fr. 5, “iam iam neque regunt
Néque profecto deúm supremus réx [res] curat hominibus

”, as having an echo in

iamiam nec maxima Iuno
Nec Saturnius haec oculis pater aspicit aequis.

This latter fragment of Attius is well compared by Ribbeck with Ant. 921 ff.: the words were doubtless Antigone's.

27 Stat. Theb. 12. 679.

28 Denkmäler, pp. 83 f.

29 From Gerhard, Ant. Bildw. Taf. 73.

30 Mon. Inst. X. 27.

31 Ann. Inst. 176, 1876.

32 See footnote above, p. xxxviii, note 1 (3rd paragraph).

33Περὶ εἰκόνος Ἀντιγόνης κατὰ ἀρχαῖον ὄστρακον, μετὰ ἀπεικονίσματος”. I am indebted to the kindness of Professor D'Ooge, late Director of the American School at Athens, for an opportunity of seeing this letter.

34 On March 25, 1845, Mendelssohn wrote to his sister:—‘See if you cannot find Punch for Jan. 18 [1845]. It contains an account of Antigone at Covent Garden, with illustrations,—especially a view of the Chorus which has made me laugh for three days.’ In his excellent article on Mendelssohn in the Dictionary of Music, Sir G. Grove has justly deemed this picture worthy of reproduction.

35 Mr George Wotherspoon, who has practically demonstrated the point by setting the Greek words to the music for the Parodos (vv. 100-161). It is only in the last antistrophe, he observes, that the ‘phrasing’ becomes distinctly modern, and less attentive to the Greek rhythms than to harmonic effects.

36 The Greek life of Sophocles says that he served as general ‘in the war against the Anaeans’ (“ἀναίους”). Anaea was a place on the mainland, near Prienè. Boeckh supposes that the first expedition was known as ‘the Anaean war,’ and that Sophocles took part in it as well as in the second expedition. To me, I confess, there seems to be far more probability in the simple supposition that “ἀναίους” is a corruption of “σαμίους”.

37 p. 603 E. Miller, Frag. Hist. II. 46.

38 Arguments against the genuineness have been brought, indeed, by Ritter Fr.(Vorgebliche Strategie d. Sophokles gegen Samos: Rhein. Mus., 1843, pp. 187 ff.). (1) Ion represents Sophocles as saying,—“Περικλῆς ποιεῖν με ἔφη, στρατηγεῖν δ᾽ οὐκ ἐπίστασθαι”. Sophocles (Ritter argues) would have said “φησί”, not “ἔφη”, if Pericles had been alive. The forger of the fragment intended it to refer to the revolt of Lesbos in 428 B.C.,—forgetting that Sophocles would then be 78. But we reply:—The tense, “ἔφη”, can obviously refer to the particular occasion on which the remark was made: ‘Pericles said so [when I was appointed, or when we were at Samos together].’ (2) Ion says of Sophocles, “οὐ ῥεκτήριος ἦν”. This (says Ritter) implies that Sophocles was dead; who, however, long survived Ion. [Ion was dead in 421 B.C., Aristoph. Pax 835.] But here, again, the tense merely refers to the time at which the writer received the impression. We could say of a living person, ‘he was an agreeable man’—meaning that we found him so when we met him.

39 See Curtius, Hist. Gr. II. 472 (Eng. tr.).

40 This fragment of Androtion has been preserved by the schol. on Aristeides, vol. 3, p. 485 (Dind.). Müller, Frag. Hist. IV. 645. The names of two of the ten generals are wanting in the printed texts, but have since been restored, from the MS., by Wilamowitz, De Rhesi Scholiis, P. 13 (Greifswald, 1877). I have observed a remarkable fact in regard to Androtion's list, which ought to be mentioned, because it might be urged against the authenticity of the list, though (in my opinion) such an inference from it would be unfair. Androtion gives (1) the names, (2) the demes of the Generals, but not their tribes. The regular order of precedence for the ten Cleisthenean tribes was this:— 1. Erectheis. 2. Aegeis. 3. Pandionis. 4. Leontis. 5. Acamantis. 6. Oeneis. 7. Cecropis. 8. Hippothontis. 9. Aeantis. 10. Antiochis. Now take the demes named by Androtion. His list will be found to follow this order of the ten tribes,— with one exception, and it is in the case of Sophocles. His deme, Colonus, belonged to the Antiochis, and therefore his name ought to have come last. But Androtion puts it second. The explanation is simple. When the ten tribes were increased to twelve, by the addition of the Antigonis and Demetrias (in or about 307 B.C.), some of the demes were transferred from one tribe to another. Among these was the deme of Colonus. It was transferred from the Antiochis, the tenth on the roll, to the Aegeis, the second on the roll. Hence Androtion's order is correct for his own time (c. 280 B.C.), but not correct for 440 B.C. It is quite unnecessary, however, to infer that he invented or doctored the list. It is enough to suppose that he re-adjusted the order, so as to make it consistent in the eyes of his contemporaries.

41 The Argument to this play, and the “Βίος Σοφοκλέους”, have already been cited. See also (1) Strabo 14. p. 638 “Ἀθηναῖοι δὲ...πέμψαντες στρατηγὸν Περικλέα καὶ σὺν αὐτῷ Σοφοκλέα τὸν ποιητὴν κακῶς διέθηκαν ἀπειθοῦντας τοὺς Σαμίους”. (2) Schol. on Aristoph. Pax 696λέγεται δὲ ὅτι ἐκ τῆς στρατηγίας τῆς ἐν Σάμῳ ἠγυρίσατο” (“ Σοφοκλῆς”). (3) Suidas s.v. “Μέλητος” [but referring to the Samian “Μέλισσος”: cp. Diog. L. 9. 24] “ὑπὲρ Σαμίων στρατηγήσας ἐναυμάχησε πρὸς Σοφοκλῆν τὸν τραγικόν, ὀλυμπιάδι πδ́” (Ol. 84 = 444-441 B.C.).—The theory that Sophocles the poet was confused with Sophocles son of Sostratides, strategus in 425 B.C. (Thuc. 3.115), is quite incompatible with the ancient evidence.

42 See Introduction to the Oed. Col., § 18, p. xli. J. S. III.3

43 Dem. or. 4 § 26.

44 One of Aelian's anecdotes (Var. Hist. 3. 8) is entitled, “ὅτι Φρύνιχος διά τι ποίημα στρατηγὸς ᾑρέθη”. Phrynichus, he says, ‘having composed suitable songs for the performers of the war-dance (“πυρριχισταῖς”) in a tragedy, so captivated and enraptured the (Athenian) spectators, that they immediately elected him to a military command.’ Nothing else is known concerning this alleged strategia. It is possible that Phrynichus, the tragic poet of c. 500 B.C., was confounded by some later anecdote-monger with the son of Stratonides, general in 412 B.C. (Thuc. 8.25), and that the story was suggested by the authentic strategia of Sophocles. At any rate, the vague and dubious testimony of Aelian certainly does not warrant us in using the case of Phrynichus as an illustration.

45λέλεκται δὲ τὸ δρᾶμα τοῦτο τριακοστὸν δεύτερον”. Bergk (Hist. Gr. Lit. III. p. 414) proposes to read, “δεδίδακται δὲ τὸ δρᾶμα τοῦτο τριακοστόν: δεύτερος ἦν”. He assumes that Sophocles gained the second prize, because, according to the Parian Chronicle (60), the first prize was gained by Euripides in the archonship of Diphilus (442/1 B.C.). He adds that the word “εὐδοκιμήσαντα”, applied to Sophocles in the Argument, would suit the winner of the second prize,—as Aristophanes says of his own “Δαιταλεῖς”, which gained the second prize, “ἄριστ᾽ ἠκουσάτηνNub. 529). But two things are wanting to the probability of Bergk's conjecture, viz., (1) some independent reason for thinking that the Antigone was the 30th, rather than the 32nd, of its author's works; and (2) some better ground for assuming that it gained the second prize.

46 See Introd. to Oed. Col. p. xxi. § 3.

47 See Oed. Col. 1405-1413, and 1770-1772.

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