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Antigone Changing Views Of The Chorus Essay

Antigone: Changing Views Of The Chorus Essay, Research Paper Antigone: Changing Views of The Chorus The chorus, a group of common people who follow the actions of the play

Antigone: Changing Views Of The Chorus Essay, Research Paper

Antigone: Changing Views of The Chorus

The chorus, a group of common people who follow the actions of the play

Antigone, waver in their support of either Antigone or Creon, depending on their

actions during a particular part of the story-line. Early in the play it is

evident that they are extremely pro-Creon, but a short time later they seem to

sway into the direction of Antigone and support her actions. This incongruency

about the them, however, was an extremely interesting feature of this Sophocles

drama, causing the reader to question the reliability of the chorus.

The opening lines from the chorus merely inform the reader about the war

which had just taken place between Thebes and Argos. Their last lines of this

opening choral passage, however, introduced king Creon, making him seem quite

noble yet mysterious to his loyal subjects. They state such questions as: ?

what new plan will he launch?? and ?Why this sudden call to the old men

summoned at one command?? (Lines 175-178) These lines are utilized by

Sophocles as a suspenseful introduction to Creon’s orders concerning the body

of Polynices.

The chorus’s next appearance blatantly shows their biased attitudes

against Antigone and her exiled father Oedipus. At this point they still sing

praise for King Creon and his unwavering decisions concerning the law which was

placed upon the city regarding the body of Polynices: ?When he weaves in the

laws of the land, and the justice of the gods that binds his oaths together, he

and his city rise high–but the city casts out that man who weds himself to

inhumanity thanks to reckless daring. Never share my hearth never think my

thoughts, whoever does such things.? (Lines 409-416) In my opinion the man

laying down the law here is Creon and Antigone is the ?man? wedding herself to

inhumanity.

The next major choral address is a turning point regarding their

attitude towards Antigone. At this point they are actually feeling pity

towards the rebellious young woman: ?But now, even I’d rebel against the king.

I’d break all bounds when I see this– I fill with tears, can’t hold them back

not any more. . . I see Antigone make her way to the bridal vault where all are

laid to rest.? (Lines 895-899) This segment follows Haemon’s lengthy

discussion with Creon, where he asks for Antigone’s life to be mercifully spared.

Several shorter passages from the chorus following this also make the

reader perceive Creon as an unrelenting, heartless tyrant, who feels no remorse

for his actions. They say that he went too far and even hint that Antigone may

ahve been the victim of her father’s actions many years prior: ?Your life’s in

ruins, child — I wonder do you pay for your father’s terrible ordeal?? (Lines

945-946)

The small choral passage following this, however, states that it was

Antigone’s own fault for her tragic downfall: ?Reverence asks some reverence

in return — but attacks on power never go unchecked, not by the man who holds

the reins of power. Your own blind will, your passion has destroyed you.?

(Lines 959-962) This again shows the chorus’s tendencies to waiver from one

side to the other in support of the play’s actions.

The next long dissertation by the chorus is a story which stresses the

powers of the fates. This story can be compared to the life of Antigone

because her life was supported and ultimately crushed by fate, as was Creon’s.

This choral selection solidifies the warnings which Tiresias gives to Creon

concerning the powers of destiny and that ignoring it can be disastrous.

Although this selection by the chorus is virtually unbiased, it is crucial for

introducing a key situation in the play.

The final statements from the chorus sum up the tragic downfall of

Creon: ?Wisdom is by far the greatest part of joy, and reverence toward the

gods must be safeguarded. The mighty words of the proud are paid in full with

mighty blows of fate, and at long last those blows will teach us wisdom.?

(Lines 1466-1471) This restates the point given iin the previous paragraph

about the dangers of being too proud and the wrath with which the fates can

strike when ignored.

Why did the chorus change its loyalities? This is easily explained as a

result of their stature in the town in which they live. Like in present times

people often change their opinions about others based on their actions. A

clear example of this is a presidential election, where a citizen bases who

they vote for on the actions of a certain candidate. At first the members of

the chorus act as loyal subjects, but as time progresses through the play and

actions unfold, they break free from the binds of strict allegiance to their

king, and begin to support what is right.

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