Changing Views of The Chorus in Sophocles' Antigone

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Changing Views of The Chorus in Antigone

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


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

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