VCCS Litonline

Stasimon 2
Home Up

Objective for this Page: To provide a summary and commentary of the chorusís response to the actions so far, particularly on the role of the gods in humansí lives.

Summary

Those who live their lives without being devastated are truly blessed, says the chorus.  Once the gods ruin a family, it's like an unending ferocious storm on the sea shore, cresting generation after generation.  The hope that this generation of Oedipus' family might escape the devastation has just been cut down.

Who can withstand the power of Zeus? He rules endlessly, always young and powerful.  No human greatness can escape ruin. People may think their live is fine, but if the gods are out to ruin them, they will in their own time.

Will Haemon be upset about losing Antigone?

Commentary

The chorus in this ode echoes the "moral" that ends Oedipus the King, which says, basically, "Let no man count himself blessed until he reaches his last day unscathed." The elders of Thebes, who are a conservative bunch, always desirous of preserving the social order, recognize here how tenuous life is.  But is it fate or human plotting that has brought Antigone to her ruin? Creon made the decree against the will of the gods, as becomes evident later when Tiresias spells it out to the stubborn tyrant.  So the chorus has it wrong, actually; it's Creon who is ruining Antigone, not the gods.

If the gods set out to ruin anyone, it's Creon who becomes their target, not because he shares any guilt of Oedipus (incest) but because he has made up his own error--denying burial to Polynices and burying Antigone before she is dead.

Study Questions

bulletList all of the characters in this play who make an error of judgment and the consequences that they endure as a result.  Which ones caused their own downfall?  Which seem to have been punished by the gods?
bulletHow does this choral ode foreshadow the ending sentiment expressed by the chorus in the exodos of this play?
bulletHow does this ode transition between Episode 2 and Episode 3?
 

Assessment: Choose a study question and respond in a paragraph, citing evidence from the play to support your point(s).

 

Back Up Next

This instructional web was made in July, 2002, by Prof. Eric Hibbison, who is solely responsible for its content.